Twine's social bookmarking on steroids

Twine untangles beta

Technology trends and news by Louis Gray
October 23, 2008
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Nova Spivack, creator and CEO of Twine, sees that networks based on its users' interests are at what he calls a "tipping point". In the last year, you've seen dramatic growth in this space, with the rise of FriendFeed, Strands, Social Median, Popego and others to name a few. And tonight, after much incubation, his own site has opened up to join the fray, delivering what he terms "Delicious on steroids."

Twine is not just a repository for you to capture interesting links from around the Web, but the service expands your content through the deployment of tags, including related people, places, etc., as Twine leverages semantic data around your content. It also pledges to discover related content to your own Twine, and help auto-discover new items, operating as a "learning machine" to help you find new items that match your interests.

My Twine Is Populated With Bookmarks From Around the Web

Twine is engineered to leverage the collective intelligence of the Twine community - much like Social Median. The pair's similarities are many, including groups by topic, the delivery of a single stream of items you have found interesting, and through the ability to follow other users who may share the same interests. But Spivack was quick to say Twine was around first.

With so many sites jumping into the "Interest Network" space, how does Twine try to differentiate itself? Spivack spells it out. "Facebook is about your relationships. Friendfeed is about your communication. LinkedIn is about your career. Twine is about your interests," he wrote in an e-mail.

Web 3.0 and the Financial Crisis are popular Twine networks.

Services like Twine and Social Median reflect the preferences and interests of their community. Top networks on Twine, include frivolity, like "Cool", geekery like "Web 3.0" and "Web Industry Trends", but also more mainstream discussions, from "Presidential Election 2008" to the "Financial Crisis". You can see the Top 100 Twines here.

If you are new to Twine, there are tools set up that will aid your starting off without an empty feed. You can import your bookmarks from Delicious, or even from your Web browser. And as with other interest networks, Twine is not aiming to be a silent repository. You can make comments on others' items, find other users who share similar items, or see recommended Twines.

As Spivack wrote me in an e-mail, Twine has only begun to scratch the surface when it comes to its semantic engine. "We've only started to expose some of that capability -- try bookmarking YouTube videos, Amazon books, CNN articles, Wikipedia pages, Flickr photos, and see what results in Twine. In Twine you get more than just a bookmark -- you get a data record that is customizable, linkable, and connected to other things," he wrote. "We'll be enabling these to be even more customizable in 2009."

Twine, on its debut out of beta, already is set to tangle with the leaders in this space, and I'm eager to see how intelligent their service is as it provides recommendations and connects people.