{Series} Toolshare – Pinboard

Tagline: Pinboard. It’s worth paying for (despite the fact I got it for free!)

As we’re all are looking ahead into 2011 it should come as no surprise that our favorite buzzword “curation” will have a major stake in culling the oft-touted information overload. Whether you will be wrangling data or bookmarking content, you’ll probably be utilizing a web app to assist your filtering processes. As the Delicious giant has fallen from grace, the bookmarking market has opened up to other possibilities. Trunk.ly, Storify, Curated.by, and Diigo rose quickly as contenders, and each has its own fill of the curation market. Luckily for me, Pinboard offered free accounts to librarians as a Christmas gift, and thus far, it sets the bar very high for the other services. Allow me to break it down for you.

The best bookmarking web app will depend, of course, on what you want out of it. Some people really enjoy the social aspect, others simply want a way to save interesting articles for future reference. Personally, I want to compile a gigantic database of all things that I find to be interesting or important on the web, easily grabbed, saved and organized, public and RSS-able, and indexed and searchable. Not too much to ask, right? That’s where Pinboard comes in.

This is the interface - very minimalist.

At first glance, Pinboard looks, feels and acts eerily like a certain social bookmarking site many of us were so used to. The added bonus? Pinboard offers to suck in important content that you mark on other sites. For instance, after scanning my RSS feeds, I can use Google Reader Shared Items to push the articles I read or deem valuable out, my new friend Pinboard grabs those items and files them right next to the tweet I just favorited, the website I just bookmarked in Delicious, and the article I just saved for later in Instapaper. All in one minimalist, smooth interface. Oh, and they kept that old “tag” idea too.

The value and utility of the tags applied to public bookmarks has been discussed in depth already, and compared to other curation apps that place less emphasis on tags, Pinboard gives tags the full-frontal treatment, right there in a fancy sidebar, ready for your organizing pleasure. They also offer a fix to a common problem I often come up against – bookmarking while mobile. Simply email the bookmark to your secret Pinboard email address, and into the hopper it goes. On top of all that they already have an extensive list of upcoming features that look really useful.

Comparatively, Pinboard stands out in a different category than Curated.by or Storify, which act closer to the art world’s definition of curation. Looking for an ultimate, bookmark/favorite tagging content sucking awesome machine? Look no further, Pinboard is here.

I have compiled a spreadsheet comparing some of the top contenders for bookmarking – CLICK HERE

What features do you care to use with a bookmarking service? Have you had any good or bad experiences with any of these?


Too Busy Reading to Write

I’m juggling a lot of different things right now, and unfortunately haven’t been able to keep up with my writing as much as I would like. (The quintessential bloggers dilemma.) However, I have been spending a good amount of time reading, digging myself into “the field” and generally being interested in lots of different things. Jeremy Boggs’ tweet the other day made me sit up and say, “Hey! Me too!” and it just so happened that Bobbi Newman went and posted a “What I’m reading” post just today. So, completely unoriginal, here’s how you can see what I’ve been reading:

I am a huge fan of Reeder on the iPad, and have a ton of RSS feeds that I scan daily. The best part is how easy Reeder/Google Reader makes it to share articles. I prefer not to spam my friends on Facebook with my boring professional life, and RT’s on Twitter can only go so far, so…

My Shared Items over on my Google profile is where most of my handpicked, best of, worth knowing articles end up.

I use Delicious less frequently and for stuff I want to read some other time.

So, just in case you were super curious what I find interesting, take a peek over there. Once I finally finish Library School I may even try reading a novel or culture-study book, who knows? (And, yes, I am already making a list of what I’m going to do when I’m out of school!)

Do You Tumbl? Tweet? Buzz? Press Words? Post Everywhere??

The blogging platform battles seem to have reached some sort of fevered pitch this weekend as two of my Daily reads TechCrunch and ReadWriteWeb both posted stories discussing the choices and facts surrounding the top services. RWW made the case (statistically) that Tumblr is far outgrowing and outperforming its “competitor” Posterous. Paul Carr of TechCrunch crowdsourced his decision-making process for moving his blog from WordPress to Tumblr, and based on responses concluded that he might consider Posterous and also “that replacing WordPress is not what Tumblr’s supposed to do.” As a concerned and involved digital citizen, I felt it was my duty to weigh in, and offer my own two cents to the debate.

About 6 months ago (no specific date Posterous? I quit) I really started to consider how to develop my digital profile. What tools available would I use to spread “micahvandegrift” across the web? I was under the impression that it’d be a good idea to grab my name on everything and just kickstart some content across a variety of platforms for the sake of getting a feel for what strengths/weaknesses each may have. I wrote this post on my Posterous account outlining my “strategy.” To summarize:

Tumblr is for sharing randomness. Twitter is for conversations/ideas/mind-casting. WordPress is for my professional writing. Posterous is for other writings (music/tech), thus the title “Etc”, although there is barely any content there. Delicious for articles I want to return to. Google Reader Shared Items to aggregate everything I actually take the time to read. Also, I portioned my online social self across to platforms; LinkedIn solely for professional networking, Facebook solely for friends/family. Google Profile and Flavors.me for an aggregation of these varieties. Last.fm for music-casting.

WordPress posts to Twitter. Twitter posts on a WordPress widget. Twitter posts to LinkedIn. Tumblr posts to Twitter. Posterous posts to Twitter. Flavors.me aggregates my LinkedIn, Twitter and WordPress. Card.ly links to LinkedIn, Twitter, WordPress, Delicious and Google Reader Shared Items.

To be honest, this has worked out really well for me. I find myself spending most of the time on Twitter and WordPress, since right now my professional life requires most of my attention, but I do check in on the other networks periodically, and plan to keep them up. I think that the social aspect of Tumblr, as pointed out in both articles, is one of its highlights. The reblog feature is such a boon for that service, and most times I check in I will reblog one or two posts from friends who have already found something cool or interesting. A lot of the people/things I follow on Tumblr, I would never follow on Twitter. Tumblr for me is an entertainment channel, with some fashion, some art, some music, and some friends thoughts. Twitter is where I learn and am inspired, so I typically only follow folks who broadcast things that fit the criteria. WordPress’ new “Subscribe” feature is interesting, but I am becoming more a fan of RSS than ever before (thanks to the iPad and Reeder), so I don’t check the Subscribed blogs often.

Generally, in my experience the best case is to portion each service to a particular task, and use it as such. Of course that can change over time. I really enjoyed using Flickr for photocasting for a while until the iPhone App kept crashing, so I started emailing them to Posterous. Much easier. Now that the Tumblr App crashes all the time, I only check it/update when I am home and catch something that inspires me or is interesting but not worth a tweet or blog post. I agree with Paul Carr that WordPress is great and very functional for long form writing, and that other sites don’t seem to compare. I think each has its own place, and all can be used to effectively build a varied, useful digital presence. At least, I hope so for all the work I put into planning it and executing it. I should infograph this strategy huh?