Image: Different uses of tools from last post, created in Gliffy
Following on from my last post, I have been looking at tools which allow users to collect together different online resources for sharing. What I'm interested in is aggregating and sequencing content together so you can distribute your sequence to others easily, a kind of flash mini-course creator. Scott Leslie twittered the other day, asking a similar thing and pointed me at the wiki scratchpad for his upcoming educator as DJ talk. So I worked through some of these, and here si my experience:
Tumblr - as I mentioned in my previous post, I've rather taken to Tumblr. It's real selling point is the ease of use, simply install the toolbar button and you can easily add anything into your Tumblr blog. It is thus ideal for harvesting all the web paraphernalia you encounter in any one day. I see it more as a personal record, like Liam I see it as a kind of digital scrapbook. But it seems a very personal, slightly anarchic tool, so not really suited to my aim of sharing a defined sequence of resources. Here is my version of Tumblr.
Posterous - AJ Cann is a fan of Posterous, and like Tumblr it's easy to use and ideal for instant sharing and harvesting. Functionally there isn't much to use between the two, I could try and justify my preference for Tumblr but it would be post-hoc rationalisation. Maybe it was the aesthetics of the themes in Tumblr, I'm a shallow kind of guy, but it's often an emotional 'decision' between similar software. Here is my Posterous.
Suprglu - this is a site for aggregating the various social data elements you create in other sites and presenting them in one nice package, sort of like your Facebook/MySpace profile, but prettier. So you can add in RSS, your LastFM tracks, Flickr, delicious, etc. It generates some tags from your content also. It's easy to use, and if you are active with different tools and what an easy to create central hub to represent your identity, it works well. It isn't about sharing a sequence of resources as such, but I guess you could create a suprglu page for a project or subject, and not an individual, which would create a dynamic set of resources. Here is my suprglu page.
SecondBrain -I signed up for SecondBrain ages ago, but didn't really get it. Like suprglu it is a self-aggregation (definitely not to be confused with self-flagellation) site, but rather more extensive with password authentication agreements across a number of sites so you can pull in your content from everywhere. My initial confusion over it remains however, I'm still not quite sure what it's for. While suprglu gives you a nicely presented site, SecondBrain seems to be offering too much, it is partly a conversation and partly a resource share, and I'm not sure it works as either. But it may work for some as an archive of your online activity. Here is my SecondBrain site.
FriendFeed - again, I've not really taken to FriendFeed, although I know some people swear by it. Initially I viewed it as a twitter rival, but it has become more of an aggregator, pulling in various streams from yourself and others. The use of FriendFeed 'rooms' which allow you to gather together several streams may go some way to providing the sort of dynamic content around a particular subject, but it doesn't provide the predetermined, shareable sequence I was after. Here is my FriendFeed.
Trailfire - this lets you create shareable trails across the web, with associated comments, so on each page a trailfire link is added, allowing you to read my comments, add those of your own, and then move on to the next resource. This is close to what I want, although the interface definitely needs a bit of work, and I'm not sure how robust it is. Like most tools it has an easy to use toolbar button, so I can quickly add any site into a particular trail. I'd like it to be exportable as embed code, but this is the closest to what I had in mind, so have a look and see if it works for you. I created a trail for the sites in this post.