Twine...Digg on Ritalin!

The digital doorway to Web 3.0 is beginning to ease open ever so slightly, as we learn more and more about semantic technology. Now joining the excitement of Wolfram Alpha and Google Wave is a small start-up called Twine. In the grand scheme of things, Twine might be a fledgling to the social networking space, but its definitely pushing the Web 2.0 envelope inside out with its debut. Similar to online aggregators like Kayak for travel sites or for job seekers, Twine acts as an aggregator of articles, blogs, documents and videos that you can accumulate from friends, associates or as a result of your own research. Twine then ties it neatly all together by topic, so you can have it in one place and can connect with other twiners with similar interests.

So why did Twine come to be and what void did it fill. Well those of us who are constantly bookmarking material with Digg, Delicious and other such sites, it doesn't take long before we startNova SpivackNova Spivack lose track as to what we stored where. Such disarray hit home with Nova Spivack. Before he started his own company, Radar Networks, the futurist entrepreneur and grandson of late management guru Peter F. Drucker, had so many virtual folders and bookmarks, he would routinely misplace many of his saved links.

To resolve that issue, he leapfrogged the competition with Twine, his company's first out-of the box offering. This next-gen bookmarking service has already attracted $26 million in venture capital and is growing exponentially at a clip Spivack calls "Digg ... on Ritalin." Twine's unique visitors have grown more than 40% each month since its October 2008 debut, topping 80% in February 2009. It's already outpacing the the historical stats of the popular startups of FriendFeed and Wikipedia. Recent numbers from indicate Twine’s April numbers have tipped 2 million visitors, up more than 60 percent from the March.

At first glance, the site resembles an RSS feed on steroids. Threads, or "twines," are centered around specific ideas ("Web 2.0"), people ("Nova Spivack"), and events ("Web 3.0 Conference"), and users fill their twines with content they have researched and/or accumulated online. The Twine site then tracks the content users add and the topics they follow, and assembles an interest-based personality profile. Based on what it learns, it sends news and recommendations from other fellow users with their updated content. Named appropriately, the analogy wasn't lost on me. Similar to a ball of twine, one begins to see how members can wrap more and more twine...(yes, you guessed it) around more and more twine.

As Spivack explains, "the 'intelligent' part of Twine is what it does under the hood, so to speak – automatically classifying and labeling documents, web pages, e-mails, photos, videos, etc. and connecting the relevant pieces to each other like a trail of breadcrumbs." Twine also looks at individual users’ interests, understands their preferences without ever having to ask, and suggests new Twines to join, or other users of the community to partner with.

According to Dan Macsai, in a recent article he wrote for Fast Company, "Web 3.0 and Twine are in their infancy," and there is a lot of work ahead "to balance the Internet's human side with artificial intelligence." So it is understandable that Spivack's small team of less than forty people are only able to "skim the surface" of semantic technology at the present time.

However as new they are to the scene, it's relatively early in the semantics game (remember that the timeline for Web 3.0 is commonly referenced as the decade from 2010-2020).

Web 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, 4.0 TimelineWeb 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, 4.0 Timeline

However, with time, it is my guess that Twine will continue to surpass its competition while squeezing open that Web 3.0 portal, one twine at a time! And if you think I'm stringing you along, by all means don't take my word for it. Join today! And keep tracking their success over time. Or better yet...twine it!