Sunday, September 20, 2009

My Impression of Twine 2.0

Radar Networks is about to release Twine 2.0. The CEO, Nova Spivack, had made a presentation of the coming T2. I include the video in the following. It takes less than 5 minutes and is worth of watching.



From the beginning, Twine is a service that I constantly study. I had written the first impression, the second impression, and Twine went public that shared my analysis of the service before its beta, in the beginning of its invitation-only beta, and when it went public, respectively. I would like to continue this tradition for the news of the T2 release.

In short, the T2 moves Twine closer to the realm of Web search in contrast to Web bookmarking, based on Nova's talk in the released video.

Although there is natural connection between bookmarking and search, the distinction between semantic bookmarking and semantic search is significant. Usually, through bookmarking we briefly store the Web pages in which we are interested. Then by search we may retrieve the particular Web page of interest out of the pool of bookmarked pages. But semantic bookmarking asks for the organization of the semantics only within a self-defined knowledge network, i.e., basically with respect to every individual user only. Semantic search, however, demands the organization of the semantics cross the varied knowledge networks, i.e., across the varied perspective of knowledge organization over multiple users. This distinction dramatically increases the degree of complexity of the problem. I am truly impressed by the new announcement. At the same time, however, I really feel doubt of how much Twine 2.0 could solve the problem.

I feel that Twine missed something critical in its progress. In the following I will try to explain my viewpoint of what it might have missed.

Within Twine, there are actually three layers of semantic representations, which I would call them the layer of the twines, the layer of the individual knowledge networks, and the layer of the overall knowledge network. As the names suggest, the layer of the overall knowledge network represents the entire knowledge stored in Twine.com, the layer of the individual knowledge networks is composed by individual users' personal knowledge networks, and the layer of the twines is composed by all the individual twines defined in Twine.com.

Until now, Twine 1.0 pays most of its attention to the layer of the twines. Based on Nova's video talk, Twine 2.0 will mostly dedicate to the layer of the overall knowledge network. The missing part is thus the layer of the individual knowledge networks.

Back to my first impression of Twine, I had highly praised Twine's effort on developing the personal knowledge networks. They should be the foundation of Twine in contrast to the twines. Although it sounds ironically, it is indeed reasonable because the twines are nothing but the links among the individual knowledge networks. It is indeed the individual knowledge networks, instead of the twines, that are truly what the users are interested.

Unfortunately, it seems that Twine jumps back and forth between the layer of the twines and the layer of the overall knowledge network. But it forgets the crucial one that is the real foundation on which a best-performing Twine must rely.

On the other hand, it is much more feasible for Twine to develop a good business model if it does semantic search rather than semantic bookmarking. I guess that this is the real motivation underneath.

I am still look forward to the service. However, I feel sorry that it chose to walk the most difficult way to go ahead rather than choosing the other less aggressive but more stable (and promising) ways of approaching.

7 comments:

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Adam Lindemann said...

Great post Yihong, you have just given me a very important insight. Clearly now that Twine is leaving the field of knowledge/mind networking that leaves the field open for another company. I wonder who ;)

Yihong Ding said...

sure, Adam. :-) great to see your comment.

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