Marshall Kirkpatrick's Blog Discovering awesome new things on the Internet since 2005.

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Case study: Softrax – powering news for financial executives with RSS

Filed under: Knowledge Management,My Services,RSS,Tagging — Marshall Kirkpatrick @

One of my favorite clients that I’ve consulted with in recent weeks is a Massachusetts based company called Softrax. I helped put together a unique and powerful newswire system for their website The site’s subtitle is “revenue management resources for today’s financial executive.”

Softrax came to me with almost no experience in using new web applications and by the time our work together was done they had a topical OPML file, a system to easily aggregate industry news on their website and a solid initiation into the web 2.0 experience. This case study is an example of one sort of plan I help clients strategize and implement.

Thoughts on How and Why to Tag Videos

Filed under: RSS,Tagging — Marshall Kirkpatrick @

I put up a long post at SplashCast this morning about how and why to tag video files. This is exactly the kind of thing I like to explore, make use of and write about. It’s got a chart, everybody loves charts. I’ll put the chart and the reasons why that I included in the post here but here’s the link to the full post. If you want to help it reach a larger audience on Digg, it’s doing pretty well so far but could use a hand getting over the hump.

Wanted to share this one here because I know some of you who read this blog don’t read the SplashCast blog, but this was one of my favorite posts that I’ve put up there in awhile. It’s even got a chart in it – everyone loves charts.

Why Would I Want to Tag Videos?

Here’s three reasons why you might want to tag videos in particular:

1. Personal Consumption You can tag videos into an RSS feed of your own creation, which in the best of situations can then be sent into media tools like iTunes, SplashCast and others. I’ve subscribed to the RSS feed in for videos tagged web2.0 (in this case by myself or other users) and now I can watch them (format permitting, no .wmv) on my iPod. Sweet. I could also create a SplashCast show with this feed and watch it in a feed reader or start page.

2. Sharing With Others Why not create your own video highlights channel to share with your students if you’re a teacher, in your blog sidebar so your viewers can see your favorites (see the top of NewTeeVee, for example, where they use VodPod) or as part of a collaboratively edited news feed like one part of the nonprofit tech community does.

3. Because It’s a Good Idea Who knows what will come next from the innovative people who play with, create and build upon web applications? Video is important, and if you can assign your favorite videos URLs that you can easily access later and distribute by RSS feed now – that’s an unconditional good that will pay off even more in the future than it can today. It’s something like data backup, info asset export, knowing how much money you have in the bank, etc. If you work on the web, then the videos you watch now will be valuable to you later – so tag them!

If you want to give it some love on the way to the full post, go here.

Sharing Websites with Not This Week You’re Not

Filed under: Tagging — Marshall Kirkpatrick @

Update: Three cheers for team – this problem has been fixed!

While is getting some much deserved credit for the release of an intriguing looking API today, one of the most standard and valuable features of the system hasn’t been working all week. Specifically, none of the tags applied by users have been updated for 3 days! This means that if you are subscribed to a particular tag, you’re not getting updates. If you go to a tag page to see what the most recent items given a particular tag have been – you’ll see that there’s nothing new for the past 3 days on any tag. Popular is still working, but I hope that the individually tagged items will get fixed asap. It’s an important line of communication for many distributed groups and the last 3 days have been a real loss.

Apparently this is news to the team at The most recent comment on the official blog is from site founder Joshua Schachter, in response to a previous commenter complaining about the problem:

“This shouldn’t be happening, please send a bug description (what urls are are stuck, your userid, etc) to joshua at via email…

Posted by: joshua | Dec 20, 2006 11:03:42 AM”

One more reason to deal with your w’s

Filed under: Tagging — Marshall Kirkpatrick @

Does your website resolve over to http://www.mystupid…? I don’t know that mine does not! At least both URLs work for me though. Want one more reason to deal with the issue? I was just looking at popular for a particular tag and found a site of interest where the same title was listed as the 3rd most popular and the 6th most popular. Why the same title? Because one is the site with www in front and the other is a w-less URL! If all the visitors had been redirected over to the same URL, that would now be recognized as the most popular URL ever tagged with that tag. That would have been nice. Oh well! Something to remember!

Links to tag a post: do they get used?

Filed under: Blogging,Tagging — Marshall Kirkpatrick @

I’ve added a series of links to the footer of my posts that will enable one-click submission of that post to a wide variety of social bookmarking systems. There are many ways to do this, but today I found what may be the easiest – with Twister MC’s social bookmark link creator.

This is a pretty popular thing to do – but do people use them? I always use my browser’s bookmarklet to save to – do you click on these links when you see them? Perhaps it’s mostly a reminder to bookmark a good post. I wonder though if the aesthetic cost of these links is worth the usability they create.

I can see the use of links like this in an RSS feed for sure, using a service like Feedburner’s FeedFlare. In a feed reader there’s not always easy access to a bookmarklet or the unique URL for an individual post – thus a one-click link is great. But on a blog site? Thoughts?

Contest: Tag web applications, win web applications

Filed under: Search,Tagging — Marshall Kirkpatrick @

This might be totally obnoxious, but I’m going to give it a try. Randy Morin of the RSS Blog began an experiment recently where he gives a free book from to the person who sends him the best link via by tagging it for:randymorin. Similar to Engadget Mobile giveaways, where a new phone is given to one random person who comments after a particular post. Those posts get thousands of comments.

I think that’s a pretty cool idea. It’s like in SnowCrash where people suck up “intelligence” information freelance about everything, submit it to the Central Information Agency (privitized CIA) and get paid whenever someone pays the CIA to access their intel. Hmmm…maybe that’s frightening.

Regardless, let’s try it.

If people tag their favorite online productivity product, service or application for Web 2.0 style info-management/research with the tag tools4marshallk – I’ll pick my favorite one of the month and the person who submitted it gets one year of premium subscription to any web service of their choice on me, up to fifty bucks. For two runners-up I’ll pitch in twenty bucks towards premium subscription to a web service of your choice. High stakes stuff, huh? I think it could prove more than worth it. And fun! At the end of this month I’ll profile the winners, their submissions and their selected services. Unless I have less than 20 submissions, at which point I’ll extend it to one month from this post. It’ll be great, and did I mention fun? Since it won’t be a for:marshallkirkpatrick tag, anyone can see the submissions here. Heck, if this works well then we could all vote on which submissions are best. But this whole idea might be really stupid, or at least in need of continual evolution.

Update: the tagging has begun! Check out the first submissions at
(more…) is like Digg for eco-types, but hardly used

Filed under: Reviews,Tagging — Marshall Kirkpatrick @

The super popular enviro-blog Treehugger has started its own Digg clone called Hugg. Both are systems where users submit and vote on the best stories online each day and the top stories are displayed on the front page. Digg is mostly for tech related news so it’s nice to see Hugg come along for a nontech topic, environmental issues are great for this.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be getting much traction. The top stories are ones with less than 10 “huggs” so far. See, for contrast a Spanish digg clone Meneame, which I wrote about a few months ago on Social Software. There’s another system like this for political news voted on, part of a larger network of shared video and audio, that I can never remember the name of or find in my archive. It’s pretty successful too, though.

Why hasn’t gotten more participation yet? It couldn’t be more high-profile than Treehugger makes it. I would really like to better understand what makes a system like this work or not work, as I think it’s a great model. Is it viable outside the super geekosphere though?

My guess on is that the darned thing is just not very easy to use. There needs to be a javascript bookmarklet to submit a story, not a form on the Hugg page that you have to go to and click through 3 times. It looks like they are worried about people submitting too many stories – in reality the problem has been just the opposite.

Hugg has been around for more than a month. My new buddy Gillo from is one of the top 10 submitters to Hugg and he’s only submitted 11 links. So this system isn’t working. Why not?

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