Great Find: Diigo

A New Kind of Social Networking?
Guest Post by Phil Butler


Diigo is one of my favorite startups of what we have termed “Web 2.0”. Whether Web 2.0 actually ever existed is irrelevant, for one thing it has brought us all is innovation for Web users – and plenty of it. A question I always ask myself and my readers is: “But does the innovation actually do anything for us?” I think I have tested and reviewed over 300 startups in the last couple of years, and I can honestly say that most of this innovation has been directed at entertainment or rather useless “cuteness”. Diigo is one innovation that does not fall into these categories. Diigo has continually adapted and developed into what is effectively the Web’s best research tool. Now, with their launch of Version 3, Diigo has refined a social annotation and collaboration service into an even more effective “personal and group oriented tool”.

The Vision

The Diigo platform was developed around a utility (the Diigo browser add on) that enables people to actually highlight and perform functions on sections of or whole Web pages. The vision was and is to help people grab relevant content and effectively aggregate, save and/or store this data. Diigo has transformed the bookmark into a more usable and effective data collection tool and has also enabled a very unique and positive community aspect with V3. Diigo basically enables people to study and research as one would in a library – by taking pertinent pieces of the knowledge puzzle and putting them where they are accessible, functional and more easily utilized.

Version 3 – Beyond Bookmarks, Way Beyond!

Diigo has been erroneously classified as a social bookmarking community by TechCrunch and others. Calling this deep and diverse research and annotation tool a bookmarking service is really ridiculous – akin to comparing putting a cardboard placeholder in a book with actually understanding what is in the book. Being able to grab, store, manipulate and organize data and knowledge and the abilty to work on it in collaboration has nothing to do with bookmarking. Judge for yourself, here are some of the features of Diigo’s Version 3 upgrade.

Diigo’s Personal, Collaborative Research Platform – This is the premise on which Diigo was built, a platform for gathering, using and sharing information. Not just any information, but highly filtered and relevant information beyond the weightiness of full Web pages and extraneous data. Diigo allows users to add, gather or extract from pages of information and then share or work with others to further refine knowledge. Users can define their content on a group, community and ultimatly on a personal level via this even more enhanced UI.

Social Content Site – The aggregate gathered annotated data on Diigo provides a collective repository quite unlike any other. Data becomes knowledge refined at Diigo because of the human filtering aspect inherent in the way people can “slice” or refine their annotations and bookmarks. Essentially everything gathered on to the Diigo platform becomes either a personal or communicative volume in the Diigo library. In this was Diigo content is perhaps more social than on any other site. Searchability and the host of Diigo user tools make endless the possibilities in utilizing this storehouse of information.

The Power of Suggestion

Version 3 has more than 100 refinements to help users more efficiently interact with knowledge and data. Perhaps the best of all these tools is the new sidebar that makes it simple to see your annotations, links, notes and even the suggested or similar data of other users. The sidebar interface is much more visible and interactive than even Diigo’s previous interface and light years ahead of the closest competitor. Combined with the Diigo toolbar makes Diigo an even more powerful collaborative tool. Users now have the ability to search and select suggested data from other users as well as suggesting relevant knowledge to their friends. Suggestion, when presented by like minded users, can effectively act as a knowledge filter which narrows search to a fine point. This is what Diigo can be best at, presenting relevant knowledge in a much more filtered and refined way.

I have succumbed to using bookmarking sites out of the necessity of networking needs myself. None of them have anywhere near the capacity Diigo has. Diigo is a complicated tool however, and new users will need to familiarize themsleves with the interface and tools there. However, this is the case with any powerful Web application, the difference is that Diigo can actually help you get something important done, while others simply help us play at doing important stuff. It is always a pleasure to work with such tools once we get used to them. It is my pleasure to be able to present just one of my favorite applications to Liz’s great readers. Liz has always been about putting people together in the most positive way, and innovations like Diigo aim towards people as well. Check this cool tool out when you get the chance and let us and Diigo know what you think.

For screenshots and more see Phil Butler Unplugged.

Thanks, Phil!

–ME “Liz” Strauss
Knowing what to do when you get to a network the trick. Work with Liz!!
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