The art of perceptive social bookmarking-Innovation through perception

Social bookmarking

Before the term Social Bookmarking became popular in the online world, the word Bookmarking existed and was used extensively for centuries.  Bookmarking, as the word suggests, has been used throughout history for marking one’s page on a book. So that the reader can come back later to find the same page with ease.  A simple and a useful practice, bookmarking has come a long way. Lot of cross pollination of ideas have happened in the past on the usage of this simple efficient practice.

Research from the popular Wikipedia says that earliest existing bookmarks in history date back to the 6th century. Bookmarks were extensively used on codices those days. Codices are book like structures which replaced the scrolls or rolls used in ancient times. The use of bookmarks further enhanced the reading ease of the codices which can be read at random rather than in a sequential pattern as in the rolls or scrolls.  It is said that these bookmarks were made up of ornamental leather those days. The earliest one was found in Egypt. Incidentally, Queen Elizabeth I of England was the first to own such a bookmark.

A bookmark on a manuscript
A bookmark on a manuscript

Simple as it seems, a very important one at that, the modern bookmarks come in all sorts of designs and a variety of materials are used for making it. Some of them are heavy paper, card board, ribbon, fabric, steel, wire etc. A lot of ornamental and embroidery designs are used in modern bookmarks.

The same concept is applied to bookmarking of a webpage URL. Bookmarking within a web context allows the user to add web links as bookmarks when they are browsing the web.  When a company or a social network as a service allows the users to further edit, annotate and share the web links to other users in a social network then this becomes ‘social bookmarking’.

Descriptions in the form of a context may be added to the web links. Some social networks allow users to tag their web links with specific vocabulary for later usage. These shared vocabularies are often called “Folksonomies”. Some social networks also facilitate online collaboration for shared content.

Online social bookmarking have their origins at the computational sciences division at NASA. The team there developed a system called ‘web tagger’.  Ever since they presented this at the International WWW conference held in Santa Clara in 1997, social bookmarking spread and became popular. Many online companies started social bookmarking services. Some companies rose to prominence and others eventually had shutdown owing to other reasons.

Nevertheless, the benefits are many from organizing and retrieving webpages for later use to simply browsing on certain categories and tags and sharing information with other users. Social bookmarking has been part of the mainstream social networks for a long time and here to stay.

Lately, there has been abuse of using social bookmarking purely as a tool to update web links for search engine optimization (SEO) purposes alone. On the contrary, even though such a practice adds  positive benefits of SEO but it does not add any meaning or purpose to the concept of bookmarking and nor does it add any value to it.

The World Wide Web (WWW) is undeniably, the single biggest consumer system in the world where billions of people search, interact, transact and share content every single day. At the fundamental level, each and every web page is connected to every other page through hyperlinks. Added to this is the algorithm of power law distribution of hubs and authority which makes the search engines effective.  Such scenario lends itself positively to the use of social bookmarking for the update of web links.  The contention here is that these web link updates cannot be abused at any cost.

The art of perceptive social bookmarking in social networks

To overcome this abuse and to bring in fair practice and trust among users, Work Monkey Labs has launched an initiative to make the web a better place. “The way I see it” web application was developed and born to bring this initiative to light.  This is a first of kind application still in its nascent stages and in its first release.

‘The way I see it’ is a unique social bookmarking tool and a practice which uses human perception.

We define it with our own term “perceptive social bookmarking”. An innovation from Work Monkey Labs.

Quoting from the genius Leonardo Da Vinci, “All our knowledge has its origins in perceptions”.

A child's drawing
A child’s drawing

For example, when you initially look at a child’s drawing for the first time, nothing would make sense immediately with all the mashed up lines and crosses. Only if you see clearly, you will know what the kid is trying to communicate through the drawing.

Perceptive social bookmarking uses pictograms or symbols along with a context to bookmark webpage URL’s.  When a user perceives (Sees or senses) a pictogram or a symbol to be right and attaches it to a webpage URL along with a context, a new insight is born. We have a new interpretation and a new understanding. This further results in successive iteration of newer ideas when passed on to other users.

Aldous Huxley was a celebrated futurist thinker and philosopher during his time and even now as well. Huxley in his widely popular book “The art of seeing” in 1942 gives the world a clear insightful formula.

“Sensing + Selecting + Perceiving = Seeing “

Aldous Huxley was the author of 46 books. The most noted among them was the “The art of seeing”. Huxley had contacted a degenerative eye disease at the age of 16. His condition was so worse that one of his eyes had a limited or rarely had any perception of light and the other eye could read the biggest letters in the eye chart only from 10 feet away. His condition in today’s world could be treated easily with an antibiotic. But in those days it was a mishap.

In his book “The art of seeing” Huxley beautifully describes all the eye exercises he had done and the efforts he had put in for regaining his sight. Through his book,

Huxley remarkably conveys a wonderful insight that “seeing is mostly the result of clear thinking”.

In order to have a clear vision, Huxley talks about a visual path. The visual path consists of the three parts as in the formula above. Let’s look at them one by one.

  1. Sensing: Sensing means allowing enough light to enter your eyes and you are able to see immediate objects. There is no mental processing here. The mind has not registered it yet and only the brain has sensed the image.
  2. Selecting: – Selecting relates to more fully sensing the object or the scene, identifying it and classifying it. This also points to isolating the object within the area or scene where the sharpest vision takes place.
  3. Perceiving: – Relates to finding a meaning out of a selected scene or an object and not merely observation. Your mind is giving a chance to store this image and retrieve it for long term use. We are basically making a sense of the isolated image or scene.

The Importance of visual images

We would like to emphasize again.

 “All our knowledge has its origins in perceptions”- Leonardo Da vinci

Whether you are a student or a veteran in visual global communication programs, there is always a great importance that is laid on visual communication.

man fashion
Man and fashion

Since they were invented, words somehow over the centuries have taken dominance over pictures to communicate complex thoughts and descriptions. The invention of the printing press by Johannes Gutenberg can be attributed to one of the reasons to this widespread usage of words.  As you may very well know nowadays, pictures and symbols are mostly used in sign boards and in graphical diagrams.

A more common aspect we can all easily relate to is that words are used part of reference books and text books and they are all part of the curriculum. Pictures are not part of the individual’s education.

But as you can see, over the past several years with the invention of television and the spread of the web, images and pictures have once again became part of the mainstream. They have become so ubiquitous that you cannot avoid them. However, with all these changes it is important to remember that visual images have the power to persuade, influence and convince people.

Messages should combine both words and images equally well and give respect to both.

We see images everywhere. We are constantly fed with unrelenting set of images on magazines, movies, storefronts and advertising.  We see messages which are tailored and mediated to suit our tastes rather than messages which are genuine and authentic. But with technological advancements including the usage of web 2.0, there would be innovations in the effective use of both pictures and words for all kinds of possibilities.

We have come to a stage where we can confidently say that it is not enough that you write, one needs to know how to collate pictures as well print designs for the web.

Most of us if not all of us would have seen the headline “America under attack” flashed on many Television News channels on the day when United Airlines flight 175 was hijacked and exploded into the World Trade Centre. And more so ghastly, was the images of Tsunami which hit the shores of Indian Ocean which reminded us of the fury and destruction of nature.

These stories conjure up memories and they communicate powerful images that we hold it in our collective memory. These images however have remained permanent but then when we see newer images, we make newer connections and impressions and we make comparisons as well.

The science behind it is that visual images and symbols rely on eyes and the brain to interpret sensory information. When the mind is active, energetic and curious it always remembers images in innovative ways. The mind develops visual cues leading to newer ideas.

All these visual images are interpreted by the brain in many ways and they have both literal and symbolic components. It so happens that when we revisit an image, something new comes out of it and that’s how new ideas are born.

When the right images are attached to the content, the content becomes memorable. They communicate strong emphasizing symbolic and literal messages. The audience will understand more at what they are looking at.

So what we are trying to say is that perception is the key to unlock our understanding, our interpretations and newer ideas. This leads to insight and insight leads to innovation.

Endnote

For further resources, please visit the link below.

Social bookmarking from Wiki

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