A few weekends back, I had that design itch to try something new. Sometimes I have product or coding itches that I just need to scratch. I figured a good outlet for my design itch would be swarmf (which is taking on the temporary working title "lani.cc" until I make up my mind on its name).

Here's what I put together as a homepage concept: (the verbiage/messaging needs a little tweaking)

A few weeks earlier, I had thrown together concepts for what a completed lani.cc page might look like:

The idea behind Swarmf takes concepts pulled from Tumblr, Delicious, and wikis.

The concept of the site is that a single editor (who can receive contributions from authors) clips content from across the web around a topic (this site strongly de-emphasizes "original" content except when it comes to annotations). If you think of newspapers as centering around "interests around a day" and blogs as "interests around a person", this site combines both of those but focuses around a single topic. 

Unlike blogs, you don't show everything in a chronological view (although there will be support for that view). Instead, the site is more visual in its output - editors must lay out the content in a grid format. Aesthetics and layout are just as important as content and annotation for this site. It's like the newspapers of old!

Now, the twist is that the site is quite open in its topics. The original concept for the site dates back to Hurricane Katrina, where fast-moving information on the internet made it *the* source to find information about Katrina... but the best place to find aggregated information were individual blogs. And even then, curating that content took forever.

With more microformats (Tweets, YouTube vids, and the world pretty much consolidating around a couple blogging platforms), it becomes far easier to build tools which can quickly cull the content (InstaPaper does a great job of this).

Each topic, as it evolves, becomes snapshotted (this idea I stole from wikis). So over time, you can watch how the topic trends over time - how interesting would it be to see the BP Oil spill topic a week after? Two weeks after? Knowing what you do now, you'd get a little kick out of it.

And each topic can be forked. If you're not happy with the Kagan clippings, fork it (which copies the current set of clipped items on a page) and start working on your own. The site'll keep track of all derivations of a forked page, so you can discover them easier.

It's an interesting idea - really starts blurring the lines even further between bookmarking sites and blogging sites.

Of course, if I ever get the time to work on it, we'll never know.

Posted by roy on June 30, 2010 at 11:02 PM in Ramblings, Web Development | 3 Comments

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owen (guest)

Comment posted on September 28th, 2010 at 07:13 PM
wow, i am building something just like this. the main problem is the layout and having TOO MUCH information. I;d be interested in hearing what you think of my version.
Comment posted on July 6th, 2010 at 08:43 AM
I think the singer Cheryl Cole is in the hospital receiving treatment for malaria. In case you're a fan or something...
Comment posted on July 2nd, 2010 at 12:57 PM
This is an interesting idea... kind of like an on-going scrap book on individual topics, with the scraps coming from online sources, archiving, so to speak, web-bites on each topic? And would there be room for comments on those web-bites?

If I've grasped the concept, and not sure I have, this could serve a positive purpose in news gathering.

Love to try it out once you've got it up and running.