Saturday, July 17, 2004

[news] "Urling" Instead of "Blogging"

Saturday, July 17, 2004
Dateline: China
Note:  To skip the following chatter, simply go to: .  The link is self-explanatory.
Next posting:  "The Evolution of New Technologies" (in a couple/few days).
I just did a Google search and it looks like I've created a new word:  "urling."  Some may argue that it should be, "URLing," but it doesn't really matter to me.  For now, I'll stick with "urling."  And, as "blogs" are to "blogging," "urls" (again, some may argue that it should be, "URLs") are to "urling."
Two sites inspired me to come up with the new term, Furl and Spurl.  (See and ; there's a more popular site with somewhat similar features, but I can't stand it.)  So what in the world am I talking about?  The best way to describe what I'm talking about is to paraphrase a bit from the Furl FAQ.  In essence, blogging is about creating (and created) content; urling is about consumed (and consuming) content.  Notice that there is a slight difference in tense, which also notes another difference between blogging and urling.
We all know what blogging is, so let me attempt to explain what urling is.  Urling is the sharing of annotated URLs (i.e., "urls").  In practice (and this is what really counts), urling is the process of sharing cool sites by simply saving them via a bookmarklet.
So, big deal.  Why should I care?  Well, in practice, Web users bookmark very few items that they actually see.  However, there are often a lot of sites that users visit that might very well be worth sharing with others.  But doing this (i.e., sharing bookmarks, especially if someone regularly goes on a bookmarking rampage) is a rather tedious process.  Using a Furl or Spurl bookmarklet, urling makes it simple to share the cool sites users visit with all others who may be interested.  They can even be shared as XML feeds!!  Furl and Spurl are a generation beyond the bookmark sharing sites circa the bubble.
Furl and Spurl also capture "urled" sites, offer recommendations, even provide a pseudo-social networking feature (although I'm a bit skeptical about this feature).
Two Days in the Life of Urling: The Practical Differences Between Blogging and Urling ... and a Peek at Urling Futures
I try to blog two or three times each week.  But in the process, I review dozens (perhaps hundreds) of articles and sites just to come up with some original content for my blog.  As we all know, blogs often tend to copy from one another.  ("Copy" may be viewed as an inflammatory word to some bloggers.  No harm intended.)  Blogging is kind of strange in that if bloggers trackback to one another, their Google results improve.  Great for catching fads, I guess, but I'm not sure if any of this really matters for serious content.  I'll go so far as to say that many (most) blogs do not have very much serious content.
Urling can get equally as ridiculous and people may want to share all sorts of questionable sites.  But it's also possible to find like-minded individuals and subscribe to what they're urling each day.  Also, not everyone likes to write.  (Some love it, some people hate it -- especially since words put to a blog are seemingly immortalized.)  Now, people who don't like to write, but find a lot of cool, useful information can share with others in a way which is not at all intimidating.  No need to think about pithy things to say in a blog; simply share a cool new site you've found or a new article describing whatever by urling.
I'm planning to use Spurl for my personal urling and I'm already using Furl for my public urling.  I can't comment on Spurl's bookmarklet feature, but I must say that Furl is rather slow.  Fact is, I can save an item using Bloglines much faster than I can using Furl.  So speed is an issue.  (I hope the folks at Furl read this.)
I also wonder why Bloglines can't do something just like Furl (or Spurl).  For my "master edition" of Bloglines, I have 64 feeds, including numerous newsletters I receive through Bloglines (including about two dozen Google News Alerts, Computerworld newsletters -- which to me are easier to read than their XML feeds, and newsletters from Line56 <they don't have XML feeds> plus Network World newsletters, among others).  Frankly, the ability to receive e-newsletters along with my XML news feeds is one of Bloglines' coolest features.  This "master edition" of Bloglines comprises most of my "must read" trade and industry news sources.  So, Bloglines should simply add the same features provided by Furl and Spurl.  Right now I have to save an article I come across through Bloglines twice:  Once as a clip in Bloglines and another via urling.  It would be much, much simpler if I was able to "url" (which rhymes with "Furl") once in Bloglines, and still have the same sharing, recommendation and annotation features provided by Furl.
Back to my "two days" perspective.  Over the past two days I tried urling with Furl.  I "urled" 39 articles and sites on Friday and about 20 today (but the day is still young).  Lots of good stuff, but NOTHING that I want to blog about.  Also, yesterday and today were/are light reading days.  My guess is that I would average at least 50 "urls" each day, with a ratio of about 100 "urls" per blog posting.  That's right:  A 100:1 ratio.
I'm even testing to see how things get picked up in the "urlosphere."  (Sorry, I just had to say this!  I hope nobody really uses the term "urlosphere.")  I tossed out to fellow "urlers" the links to a few potentially hot sites, including the sites for the iRider and Deepnet browsers, and for BYU's Data Extraction Research Group (focused on Semantic Web apps).  It will be interesting to see what happens to these links in the "urlosphere."
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Bottom line:  Let's see how this goes.  Frankly, I'd rather focus my blog on two subjects:  ITO (from a trade and business perspective) and "hot" technologies (but from a more contemplative and technical perspective, NOT a knee-jerk reaction to jerky press releases).  I'd rather leave the non-ITO tech trade stuff to urling and still have the ability to share noteworthy findings.
David Scott Lewis
President & Principal Analyst
IT E-Strategies, Inc.
Menlo Park, CA & Qingdao, China (current blog postings optimized for MSIE6.x) (access to blog content archives in China) (current blog postings for viewing in other browsers and for access to blog content archives in the US & ROW) (AvantGo channel)
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