Will Twine be my new backup brain?

From the descriptions that I’ve read at TechCrunch, Read/Write Web and at Danny Ayers’s Raw blog, the new social-aggregation app from Radar Networks called Twine sounds like something that I (and I assume others as well) have been waiting for for some time now — a truly smart social bookmarking (or “knowledge management”) app. Whether it can really deliver, of course, remains to be seen, since Twine is in beta, and no one has really had a chance to use it.

ball_of_twine.jpgI’m pretty much addicted to del.icio.us at this point, after having used everything from Furl to Clipmarks as a kind of “backup brain” or digital notebook (and yes, I’ve used Google’s Notebook). And yet, for all its usefulness, delicious still lacks a lot of things, and one of them is smart tagging. If you go to my delicious account — you can see that I’ve got about 7,400 items tagged at this point, and there are so many tags that they’ve basically become unusable as a navigation tool.

Every now and then I feel guilty about how cluttered and disorganized my tags are, but I just can’t be bothered to do the grunt work of organizing them into clusters or whatever del.icio.us calls them. The point at which my ears — or eyes — really perked up as I was reading the descriptions of Twine was when they mentioned that it has a smart (or semantic) tagging system that will tag things automagically, and then find relationships between tags as well.

It seems like a simple thing, and yet it could be so powerful — and so useful. If you think about how you use normal objects in your life, or how you interact with people, relationships form naturally over time to the point where things and people are connected without much conscious effort.

I would love to have that kind of intuitive behaviour appear in my backup brain as well as my real brain. My friend Paul Kedrosky seems skeptical about Twine’s ability to become that kind of tool, but I hope he is wrong.

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About mathewi

I'm the chief digital writer at the Columbia Journalism Review in New York, and a former writer for Fortune magazine and the Globe and Mail newspaper.