[fr] Diigo semble être un outil de commentaire et de bookmarking social intéressant. Regardez les images si le texte vous rebute. En prime, petite digression sur la fragmentation des conversations.
I’m a bit of a referrer obsessive, and today that little habit of mine led me to discover Diigo, a social bookmarking tool which does way more than that. It seems at first view to be a mix of del.icio.us and what coComment could have been, with a pinch of MyBlogLog and maybe StumbleUpon thrown in.
This is the link that led me to it. It’s pretty well-designed, because it immediately gave me an idea of what the service might be able to do for me. Look for yourself:
That’s the page that was bookmarked, with a “toolbar” (a fake one) on top. Close-up:
Oh-oh! I can bookmark, highlight, annotate, comment… sounds nice! If I scroll down the page, I get to see what “highlight” might look like:
That’s actually pretty good, because it allows me to see what I could get out of the service without having to sign up. Good marketing, guys and gals. Well, I don’t know about you, but that was enough for me to sign up and see what it was really about (specially as I’m keeping an eye open for something that could replace what I use coComment for — but it doesn’t seem this will be it, I’m afraid).
So, here goes. Sign-up was pretty straightforward. Sadly, Diigo commits the password anti-pattern crime, which no social tool is allowed to do anymore now that Google has a password-free API to get around that (see Flickr and Dopplr: the Right Way to Import GMail Contacts). I’m from now on refusing to give my password to any “find your friends” interface, even if it makes my life more difficult. One has to take a stand, sometimes.
So, finding friends will be hard. Let’s have a look around, however. Diigo has a toolbar, which installed quite nicely. The FireFox add-on provides a side drawer for Diigo.
Amongst other things, this makes it easy to leave a comment on any page. A good point for Diigo: they make it possible to share annotations with non-users (which is how they got me interested, as I just explained). So for the comment in the screenshot above, I can get a “share link“:
Which means people I give this link to get to see this:
Oh, and they have OpenID too! Another good point for them. In case it wasn’t clear from what I’ve already said, I think that leaving the functionalities of the tool visible to non-users like that is a great thing. It makes it easier to use for me when I don’t already have friends, and it allows people who haven’t joined yet to see more clearly what they might get out of doing so.
Back to the tour.
Diigo does bookmarking. I’ve been faithful to del.icio.us from the start, but it doesn’t mean I’m closed to switching if I find something better. If I can bookmark and post Skitch-like sticky notes and comments on the web pages I’m bookmarking, well, that could win me over. First thing I checked, though, was import/export capability. One of the things I feel burnt with about my coComment experience is that there seems to be now way to leave with my data — so export is one of the first things I check before I consider using a new service I’m going to be storing data in.
Import is important, because if I’m going to switch to Diigo, I want to bring my past data in. Well, in that department, good marks:
And even better, the “save elsewhere” feature:
This means I can start saving my bookmarks to Diigo right away, and get Diigo to post them to del.icio.us. That way, it doesn’t break anything in the way I work — it just changes the input method and allows me to test a new tool “without risk”. Great.
I tried importing my bookmarks through the API and it seemed to stall in the middle:
I can’t say I’m wild about the amount of advertising on the site, but it seems in slighter good taste than coComment (I encountered a seizure-inducing vibrating banner ad on their site just minutes ago — but to say the good, I also discovered that they now support OpenID during that trip).
So, after the first import seemed to fail halfway, I followed Diigo’s advice and imported my bookmarks through the HTML export file del.icio.us provides. I got the following message:
…which made me fear I would end up with duplicates — but no, everything worked fine. It’s now possible to see my “goingsolo+coverage” bookmarks on Diigo.
The interface is sometimes a bit difficult — I’ve found how to do things, but it doesn’t “flow” as easily as I’d expect it too. I guess they still could use some work there, and it sometimes has a feeling of “rough around the edges” (ie, import message that says things are ok when they aren’t, extra space in URL when filtering two different tags in bookmarks, chopped usernames under avatars…). This, for example, looks like it could use a bit more work in the design/usability department:
What would be really nice would be if Diigo could capture comments made in traditional commenting forms, in addition to letting me add “separate” comments:
This is important because comments made through normal commenting forms appear on the page immediately — so site owners aren’t going to get rid of them right away. I need to dig into what Disqus is doing, though, haven’t yet had a close look. A bunch of people (Loïc Le Meur, Louis Gray, Stowe Boyd, amongst others) have been noting lately that conversation/commentary is moving away from blog comments.
The conversation is now forked or fragmented, something that Ben Metcalfe noted as a problem with coComment, already at the time. I remember that at one point in time, the direction coComment was taking (with groups, mainly) was to abandon the idea of one conversation” and the move towards “multiple conversations” per post/page. I guess I never really liked that idea, because as a blogger before anything else, it’s important to me that commentary about what I publish can easily be found using the original post/video/whatever as a starting point.
On the other hand, I don’t believe in forcing people to use this or that system to leave their comments. Lots of people comment on my posts through Twitter, and that’s fine — but I regret there isn’t a system to indicate that those tweets are part of the commentary on this or that post. So, comment through Twitter, the comment form, Facebook, Diigo, on my FriendFeed or on your own blog, even with a Seesmic video comment if you want — but as a content provider, I’d like a way to collect all that commentary with a big net and display it on my blog post page.
Comments have more value when they are displayed alongside the content they’re referencing, but the process of leaving a comment should be tool-agnostic.
So anyway, end of bonus digression, and back to the Diigo tour. This Diigo thing is social, so I need to find friends. As I refuse to do the password-thingy, I tried typing a few names of superconnectors I know (Robert Scoble, Stowe Boyd, Michael Arrington, Chris Brogan… for starters). Only Arrington had an account, but it had one test bookmark and zero friends… not too good for a start.
I’d noticed the Diigo side drawer had a “Readers” tab. So I loaded up my blog in the browser, and scanned the list of my readers for known names (I figured I might know some of my readers). Lo and behold!
My friend Thomas Vanderwal was in the list. Here’s his bookmarks page:
(Note the “tasteful” German-language ad — because I’m in Switzerland, I speak German, of course (not).)
I had to poke around a bit for the “ad friend” button, but finally found it on Thomas’s profile page:
Unfortunately, it seems not many people from “our bloggy-twitter circle” have joined yet — Thomas only has two friends, and I don’t know them (I think). Or Diigo need to work hard on their “finding friends and adding them” processes.
Well, there we are. Looks interesting. Will try to use it. More to be said of course, but already spent way too long on this “quick post with a few screenshots”!
If you join Diigo, here’s my profile page if you want to add me. Tell them I sent you! (Who was saying I should get paid to write this kind of stuff, already? ;-))