The redesigned site and added features

After a few weeks’ hard coding work, today we are presenting an updated site to you. We hope the new features and changes will make the site more useful. Here is a brief description.

1. Now you can follow baggers (bag creators)
This way you may see the bags they create and recommend all the time. You also can build bags to share interesting topics with your followers. With this function, it is easier to keep track of baggers you like and the bags they build, update, and recommend.

2. Registered users can recommend bags
Consider this function as BagTheBag’s tweets. By clicking the “recommend” button, you can share any bag you see with your followers, no matter you are the bag’s creators or not. Even you do not create bags, you still can find and share good bags by recommending them.

3. Rich media content links
Bags will automatically display rich media content, such as video and photos, originated from certain sites. What you need to do is just like before: adding URLs to a bag. Then, the videos or photos will be embedded. See this example. Right now, this function supports YouTube, Vemeo, and Flickr. We will add more sites to the supported list soon.

4. Plus, the site recognizes tweets
When a URL of the Twitter site is entered into a bag, its corresponding tweet will be displayed in its entirety including the tweet text and the twitterer’s image.

5. Unpublished / published feature
Users told us that they do not want their bags to be instantly public when they are still creating them. For that reason, we added one step for bag creation. Now a bag is considered “unpublished” until its creator clicks the “Publish it” button. However, unlike private bags, an unpublished bag is not private, for it can be seen if one has the right URL. You can use this “semi-private” feature to share a bag with your group, if you do not want the bag become fully public.

6. Now you can save your favorite bags
By clicking the star icon on the sidebar, you “favorite” the bag you are viewing. The favorited bag can be found in a dedicated section.

7. Embed a bag to your blog or sites
We add an “embed” tool so that you can embed a bag to your blog or website. It is useful to add a bag of related web links as references to your blog posts.

8. Your personalized home
We changed our homepage, for both before signed in and after signed in cases. After signed in, your personalized home is named “bagstream” that displays all bag items published and recommended by baggers you follow. It is an easy way to discovery interesting bags you may never encounter. Bagstream is a bag filter contributed by people you follow. You can control the flow by following and unfollowing them.

In the past few months since our site went online, some users recommended BagTheWeb as a good bookmarking tool. That was half right. BagTheWeb can help you collect and organize websites and pages. However, it does more than that. Essentially, BagTheWeb is a Web content curation tool. Users can create bags of different topics. With the Web’s information overloading situation, the need of content curation is becoming more imminent everyday. In a recent post, Robert Scoble extensively described the need and design for such a tool. You can read it here.

With the added social networking component, the BagTheWeb site will be able to connect both bags and users. The site will become a social “content network” of Web information. We are eager to hear your comments and suggestions so that we will make further improvements along the way.

An Editable Web, a Linkable World

What Is BagTheWeb, Really?

Since our beta launch, friends and analysts kept asking us about the essence of the site: “Are you a social bookmarking site?” “This looks like a URL sharing tool. Right?” “Oh, it’s a web publishing tool, isn’t it?”

The answer to all these questions are the same one: “Yes. You are right. However, this service can do more than what you have discovered.”

To better describe the essence of the site, we wrote a white paper and put it on the site’s About page.

Essentially, BagTheWeb is a universal web connector. What it provides is a new basic functionality: linking web pieces together. With user-created bags, originally disconnected pieces can come together to form a new entity for a purpose. This can be easily done by ordinary users with only basic web skills.

You are welcome to tell us what you think about the site at feedback. In the meantime, we would like to invite you to build bags and add links for your work, study, and daily life. Let us know if you have questions, problems, and suggestions. With your input, we are continuously working on improving the site and adding useful features.

Stamp #TED to Spread TED2010 Bags

The most anticipated annual TED conference is back again! On February 10, this year’s TED will start its four-day session in Long Beach, California. As always, its speaker list includes the top thinkers and activists of our time. As academics, technologists, futurists and artists, the TED speakers deliver thought-provoking lectures to entertain and intrigue the world’s intellectual circle.

Here at BagTheWeb, we are eagerly waiting to see what will be talked about and discussed at the conference. We know that the TED speakers and their talks will have an enduring impact to what we think and what we do for a long period of time. Thus there is a need to re-visit the talks and share them with friends. To make all the TED 2010 information better organized and more accessible, we have created interlinked bags for the web community.

Different from the TED conference site where all the sessions are listed in chronological order, all the bags about TED 2010 are inter-connected. From either a speaker or a session, you can click on links in a bag to jump to see more information.

Furthermore, a bag can go beyond the conference. Webpage links and bag links in a bag can easily include background or related information from anywhere on the web. A bag is far richer than what a conference website can be. Also, anyone can build bags to achieve the same goal.

All bags stamped on TED - BagTheWeb - 20100208

We recently developed a new feature called “stamp.” When you create a bag about TED2010 or see a good one, just stamp #TED, then other bag users will be able to see it by clicking on this stamp. Similar to Twitter’s hashtag, this is a neat way to aggregate and to find bags about a specific topic.

Bagging is a new way to organize and publicize conference information. When you organize or attend a conference next time, try to use this new tool to put relevant information in linked bags. The information becomes much easier for you to access and to use later. Plus, your co-attendees and colleagues will be pleased when you share your bags with them.

Bagging is Helping Haiti

Haiti is still the focus of the world’s attention. From governments to NGOs, from celebrities to ordinary citizens, the world is moving fast to help save and assist the survivors of the January 12 Haiti earthquake.

To do our share, we made a bag, 20+ Ways to Help Haiti, right after the quake. That bag listed the websites of major charitable organiztions. Within days, thousands of visits came. People used it to make donations to charities and shared it in online communities. We tried hard to keep it updated and to link it to more related resources including the bags users created.

Beyond our bag, we also saw that people are building bags to disseminate information and to coordinate Haiti relief efforts.

For example, a user in Portland, Oregon, created a bag to display links of all the Haiti relief activities in the area. Thousands of people used it and reweeted it to promote various activities, events, and donations. Portland mayor Sam Adams was among those who retweeted it.

Twitter - Mayor Sam Adams- RT @GOODinPDX

It’s good for us to see that information bagging is becoming an effective way to help Haiti.

24+ ways to help Haiti slideshow

On January 14, we created a bag to collect charitable organizations active in providing earthquake relief efforts in Haiti. That bag has been checked out by thousands of readers and retweeted many times.

After building that bag, I designed a slideshow version of the bag and uploaded it on SlideShare. The slideshow was selected to be one of the “Top Presentations of the Day” on the SlideShare site on January 16.

This is my second slideshow to support earthquake relief. In May 2008, I designed a similar set on SlideShare for the Sichuan earthquake in China. Now here is the new one for Haiti earthquake victims.

Check out this slideshow and retweet it to spread the message to the world. Let’s work hard together for the great cause of helping Haiti.

Support Haiti earthquake relief by creating bags

The quake in Haiti on January 12 and its aftermath shook the entire globe. The tragedy is touching the hearts of us all. People in Haiti are in urgent need for all kinds of assistance and the world is mobilized to help.

There is tons of information online, being updated every minute: donation/relief sites, news reports, real-time tweets, and more. To assist the need of finding and disseminating these important information sources, we have built a few bags with our tool.

For example, a bag entitled “20+ Ways to Help Haiti” was created last Thursday, where you can find websites to make donations and all the Haiti information, via linked bags.

Users visited and retweeted this bag a lot. A user in Portland, Oregon, even created a similar bag listing all the organizations involved in helping Haiti in the Portland area. That bag also generated big traffic there.

Let’s do more to support Haiti earthquake relief by creating bags.

BagTheWeb.com is live!

BagTheWeb.com is live!

BagTheWeb offers a novel web linking platform where ordinary users will be able to make web links for collecting, saving, and sharing web content. In the meantime, your collective activities of linking will make the web better, more meaningfully connected. This new type of web links, user-generated links, will bring micro-orders to the web where information is better linked, easier to find, and more useful.

BagTheWeb.com is for users like you to connect webpages. More specifically, you can create a link list called bag” for any topic, then link webpages you like into it. Then, a bag can be linked to other bags to form a network of bags.

What are the benefits of using bags?

You can easily save webpages into different bags of different topics. They are better organized than existing bookmarking tools and are easier to retrieve.

A bag is a piece of new web content. Users create their bags to share their knowledge about web information interesting to them. A bag has three parts: a bag summary, a list of webpage links, and a list of bag links. These are written or linked by the user who creates the bag.

Bags bring order to sharing. For example, instead of displaying a URL in a Twitter post, you now can tweet a bag which contains more useful web resources.

The network of bags is social, for bags are linking to other bags. From a bag, you can look at its linked bags and possibly find more useful web content organized by other users. BagTheWeb is a new place for finding information on the web.

Please check out www.BagTheWeb.com