Tag Archives: tagging

HashMash: My invention of a new hashtag search tool

Yesterday, while reading through the for last Monday’s superb Twicket event (for background, read the , which I wrote), I started to notice that other hashtags had been used in tweets discussing it. I started to wonder which had been used the most, and what subjects they were about, and this gave me an idea, which I posted to Twitter:

Sadly, my coding days were so long ago that I no longer have the technical skills to make that happen.

Top tag is #digitalbritain, followed by #welovebrenda

Tags tweeted alongside #twicket

Then Rachel Beer () kindly retweeted my comment, and one of her followers, Simon Painter (), immediately responded that it was was something he could do. That evening, he already had a first daft up-and-running, and the tool, which I named “HashMash”, is now available for public use at . He’s done a superb job, it works just how I imagined it would. (Nonetheless, Simon tells me that he plans to make a jquery version and beautify it).

He kindly credited Rachel and me in the footer, so I recoded the footer to include links, and “tag” , and popped my amendments to Simon’s markup onto the very useful PasteBin website, which has syntax highlighting.

Just one minute later, Simon had uploaded my new markup.

Footer includes links to Andy Mabbett's and Rachel Beer's websites and Twitter accounts

The revised HashMash footer

Bearing in mind that Simon and I have never met, had never corresponded, and weren’t even following each other on Twitter until this happened, this has been a first-class example of the power of social media, and the JFDI approach to getting stuff done. In many large organisations, the first meeting about a project initiation document wouldn’t even be scheduled.

Why not ? Let me know what you think.

Simon and Rachel: Thank you. I owe you both a beer!

Footnote: Simon has the best Twitter disclaimer ever.

Update: Simon has written a .

Update 2: Following design changes, my “footer” markup is now at the top of the page!

Do you make comments on others’ blogs? Bookmark and share them!

You may notice (on the right hand side of this site, if you use the default view; or see image below), a list headed “My comments elsewhere”, with links to other people’s blog posts, on which I’ve recently commented.

List of the five last posts on which I commented, each linked to the post concerned

Screen shot of my recent comments, at the time of writing

I’ve been asked how I do this.

Every time I comment on a blog post — and I try to do so often, both to show my interest in others’ work, and to be part of their conversations — I bookmark that post on the site Delicious Pinboard, and tag it “comment”.

I then pass the RSS feed of all my bookmarks with that tag: http://feeds.pinboard.in/rss/u:pigsonthewing/t:comment/ to WordPress (the software I use to author and host this blog), which magically displays a list of the most recent five, as you can see.

The full feed is, of course, also available to anyone who wishes to subscribe to it in the feed reader of their choice; and my tagged comments can also be read as a web page.

In this way, as well as telling my readers what I’ve done, I bring extra attention to the blogs I comment on, thereby helping, albeit in a small way, their authors.

Why not bookmark your comments, and put a feed of them on your own blog?

Update: Delicious became awful when it relaunched, I now use Pinboard.

Update: You can also use this technique to add the list of your comments (specifically, the relevant URL on the bookmarking site) as a “work”, in your profile page on services which list your publications, such as ORCID.

This weekend was indistinguishable from magic

Today, I updated someone else’s website, with one button-press on my Nokia N95 mobile phone.

The button-press was all that was need, using the lovely Dabr web interface for Twitter, to favourite a tweet about an excellent event I attended yesterday, UK GovCamp 2011.

That tweet contained a URL, and a .

Packrati.us monitors the tweets I favourite, as well as everything I tweet or re-tweet, for both links and hashtags, and saves the URLs, duly tagged, to Delicious.

Delicious then produces an RSS feed for (as they do with every tag).

Steph Gray (@lesteph) has done an excellent job, using Commentariat2 and WordPress to make the conversation aggregator (a “buzz” page) for UK GovCamp 2011, and has kindly accepted my suggestion to include the Delicious RSS feed for the event’s hashtag.

And so the link in the tweet I favourited appeared on the “buzz” page of the UK GovCamp 2011 website.

All because I made a single button-press on a device little bigger than a matchbox.

To quote the already over-quoted Arthur C Clarke‘s ‘Third Law‘:

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic

Thirty-five years after I first (at a very youthful age!) used a computer, and seventeen years after I first used the web, I’m still excited by them. I wonder where they’ll take us next?

The event was indistinguishable from magic, too. The links above will show you why.

A proposed tag for including Wikipedia links in Twitter posts

I’ve had another idea!

I saw Matthew Somerville () tweet:

Reading about http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clothianidin and bees

and it occurred to me, both that a fantastically high number of Wikipedia links are tweeted, and that Wikipedia URLs are relatively long. This latter fact might have been significant, if Matthew had needed to say a few more words, or was talking about something with a longer name. He could have shortened his link, using, say, Bit.ly, but then he’d have had to repeat the stem:

Reading about Clothianidin http://bit.ly/dE6pUf and bees

which is hardly shorter, and disrupts the flow.

What if we agreed a special tag, say W# or w:, used like this:

Reading about w:Clothianidin and bees

and Twitter clients automatically swapped that for a Wikipedia link:

Reading about Clothianidin and bees

Update

Twitter clients could allow users to set their preferred language-version of Wikipedia, and perhaps find the relevant translations of articles (which Wikipedia could better facilitate, using rel=alternate headers), authors could also specify a language, such as w:fr:brie or w:de:München

Machine Tagging Flickr

I’ve posted some more thoughts on machine- (or triple-) tags and microformats on Flickr, in their Flickr Ideas group.

Update: There is now a tool to automatically generate tags for Flickr images of living things; iNaturalist tagger.