12 Sep 2006

MySpace for things?

A while ago I came across her Draft Craft Manifesto and was impressed enough to pass it on to B who riffed off it in her second cast-on show. For some reason it popped back in my mind a couple of days ago and I googled Ulla-Maaria Mutanen and found a link on her blog to Thinglink. It peeked my interest, but I didn't entirely 'get' it.

Then I found a video on Google and decided to give it a whirl for some of my paintings. So.if you want to know anything about Thing:093UWW, Thing:645BJT, or even Thing:546ZCW (or any other of my registered things, you can because they now all have their own little homepages.

What's the point? Well, until there is a way of searching for 'Things' on Google, not a lot. I can't see myself putting a sticker on the back of the paintings, (I'm more your permanent marker kind of grrl) but the idea of having a product code that refers to searchable data on the internet is pretty cool. I think it would be a good way into getting makers into the idea of being producers and not consumers on the internet. The interface is dead easy, though it is reliant of the user having a flickr account set up first.

That said, I think it would be a good 'gateway' web app. Although I am an enthusiastic advocate of Elgg, it is harder to explain it to people in education who aren't really familiar with the ideas of social networking on the internet. The kids all understand MySpace, but we are busy having a moral panic and blocking that out of educational networks without unpicking what is so useful or appealing about them. The format of Thinglink is: "here is the thing I made, here is some text about the thing I made and here are some tags relating to the thing I made..." its a lot less controversial as a format. But still a good tool to reflect on the making of objects.

Gah, now I keep of IKEA... I can just imagine an exhibition with an internet console and a handy supply of paper dockets and half sized pencils and work, with product codes, it's strangely appealing...

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