A clue that it might be time for me to sunset my Delicious account prompted me to look back to the first few links I bookmarked there, back in May 2005. Given the prevalence of linkrot round these parts it’s a pleasant surprise to find three links still very much alive, and ones I’d still readily tag today. Here’s my first three…
More than a decade ago a bunch of very smart people worked together to bring live news and information to the World Wide Web. And when, as happens, they went their separate ways they used that selfsame Super High Way to keep in touch and surface interesting links shared on their IRC channel. They were joined by other smart people, kind of invented link shortening, and discovered dogs in hats. These days the original PANTers are scattered to the four corners of the Earth, and the Daily Chump is a trickle to the river it once was, but I owe those people a lot and I’d still put their chumpings at the top of my feed reader.
Think of the cool stuff you could do with your desktop PC back in 2005. Multiply all that stuff by every time of day and night, and again by all the places you’ll ever go. That’s the promise of the mobile web. It’s why “down the toilet” is one of the most common causes of mobile phone loss. And why I’m tapping out this post on the top deck of a number 19 bus. Making the web mobile has been an amazing journey so far. For some people, much of that initial promise is now a reality, and yet those people are still in a minority – for most it’s just beginning.
I think I saved this one because places and communities had become by the mid Noughties an over-riding conceptual frame for interaction online: think website, online forum. Yet, with a few honourable exceptions, people working on the web understood little of how time-worn real world patterns of place and community could help us create better virtual experiences. Now thanks to bookmark 2, above, we’ve come full circle: physical places can be enhanced and extended with online services. We discover that any separations between the two domains were short-lived or illusory.
Three links as fresh today as they were when I first saved them. Thanks, Delicious, for keeping them safe. Now it’s over to Pinboard. I’d love to know if other long-term users still find their first links as useful. Do please let me know in the comments.