Twitter as a data shed. Update: Twitter as label-maker?


Please use the two following two hashtags when commenting on this post on Twitter: #blc11 #datashed

Thanks for the RTs and feedback @BrianMullNL @courosa @prawsthorne @graemecampbell @TechiAng @jenniferbeine @kdumont  @m_scott

Yesterday, I floated the idea of using Twitter to create an open data shed of sorts. What I actually want is a way to store unstructured data so that users can pull together (likely using hashtags) on the fly as they need. Those users might be anywhere in the world. I also want users to be able to carry on a conversation around that data.

I chose to start with Twitter because it’s open (where wikis, nings, Diigo groups, are walled gardens requiring sign on to get write privileges) and because users pull content, rather than have it pushed on them. Similarly, users don’t have to go to a particular blog or website to carry on the conversation.  But Twitter might not be the answer. Google+ has some promise, but currently does not support tagging so I don’t know how to structure data there. What I want–now–is the semantic web, but since it’s not quite here yet, I’m trying to build a workaround. 

To list, I want a way:

  1. to tag anything.
  2. to filter those tags in combination, as I need.
  3. to share openly the tagged objects and their tags

So maybe a beter metaphor is Twitter-as-label-maker?

I can post a link to anything with a url on Twitter and add as many hashtags as 140-characters will allow. Most importantly, anyone can tag the same piece of content this way. It’s clunky, as the tags aren’t really attached to the object (you couldn’t, for example, easily see how others have tagged the object) but it might work for now.

However, after 24 hours in the air, the original trial ballon has snagged on the following which I still need to clear:

  1. Tweets more than a week old are hard to find; you need a tool that goes beyond Twitter’s own Search reach.
  2. Tweets can get lost–Twitter might not be a reliable place to store data which could be a deal-breaker if true
  3. Tweets aren’t being picked up by all realtime search

Again, your comments and ideas are apprecitated. Please use the #blc11 #datashed tags if you repsond via Twitter.

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