Sunday, May 07, 2006

Anti-social bookmarking

I call them bookmarks, others prefer the name favourites, and a minute number of people use the term hotlists. According to wikipedia, "Bookmarks are pointers - primarily to URLs - built into the various internet web browsers".

Bookmarking is a way for an internet user to find his/her way back to a web-page on the world wide web. Without them many-a-page would fall through the cracks in our memory, never to be found again.

Traditionally, whenever an internet user discovered a web-page worthy of keeping, they used their browser to store the URL locally on their computer. Whenever they needed to go back to the page, they went to their browsers and with minimum fuss found their way back. This methodology works great for users in "developed countries" but it is not necessarily a good fit for sub-saharan africa.

Millenium Indicator 48 for Ghana: 38% of the population have computers and 78% of the population use the internet(Source: UN Statistics Division).
Lets ruminate on that for a minute.

Okay, time's up.

I don't know about you, but for me the fact that 40% of internet users in Ghana use public computers means that the traditional method of bookmarking is not tropically tolerant (tt). So, what are we going to do about it ?

Nothing, its already been done for us.

The solution: storing the bookmarks server-side, can currently be found in social bookmarking websites. These services exist mostly for social-networking and folksonomy purposes. However, looking at them from a tropical mindset, social-networking and folksonomy are secondary features. Social bookmarking sites are simply, free, online storage for bookmarks. What this means is that an internet user in Ghana can have his own "private" list of bookmarks that is available whenever he is online without having to own a computer.

Fellow tropical netizens, what we have here is tropically tolerant bookmarking.


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