the possibilities of trunk.ly

trunk.ly is a link-organizing/social bookmarking tool that connects up to your social networks and attempts to parse out all the links. The idea is that bookmarking takes up mental effort so instead of you having to categorize/tag links and then go back and find them to blog about them or whatever, trunk.ly just grabs all the links you put through the rest of your socially-mediated life and makes them nice and searchable.

So as far as affordances go, what does trunk.ly suggest or invite users to do with it?

  • Searching. The search bar is up on the top of the screen, white in a bar of black (unlike Twitter’s gray in a bar of black).
  • Filtering. It gives you ways to filter content by the source of the link as well as by content type. You can apply tags yourself, or allow it to grab the hashtags off Twitter (it doesn’t pull the tags from straight RSS, which is annoying)
  • Comment-less approval. There is the Facebook Like button, the Google +1 button and a Tweet button. Of those three only Twitter allows actual commentary. This makes it easy to express approval without having to think about adding any value through actual language.
  • Sharing is the biggest affordance here. It gives you the option of following people to see what they’re linking to and suggests people (with big ol’ avatar pictures on the right hand side of the screen. Also, under each link in a person’s collection there are buttons for Sharing links via Facebook and Twitter, as well as generating a QR code for the link.

The QR code is kind of the killer feature for me. With a single click you’ve got a simple way to transfer a bookmark from your computer screen to the smartphone of someone right next to you. That person doesn’t have to type in a trunk.ly address on their tiny touchscreen device if they’re in proximity to your computer screen. This encourages an over-the-shoulder, actually in the same place kind of sharing, not just through the digital realm.

The things it doesn’t suggest:

  • Creating your own content. While there is space in each bookmark for notes this is more relevant for annotation than writing blocks of text. There is no word count or even basic html formatting for creation. The implication is that you will use trunk.ly solely to pass things along.

I feel like this is going to be an issue with many of the newer forms of social media. While blogging and wikis are all about content, it seems things are getting terser and terser, leaving less room for people to think about and contribute.

I don’t know how I feel about trunk.ly, but the nice thing about it is how it gets out of your way and just sucks things in from the other feeds. It affords you the luxury of not having your cognitive load added to while it does its thing. That’s worth something I guess. Enough that I’m not shutting down my account.

5 thoughts on “the possibilities of trunk.ly

  1. Hi,

    Thanks for this feedback, and I’m glad you’re not shutting down your account!

    We’re always keen to hear from people using Trunk.ly, what works and what doesn’t – so will definitely have a closer look at the RSS feeds and importing those tags which is closely aligned to our mission.

    In terms of creating your own content, I don’t see that as aligned with our vision, however we’re always open to suggestions too. Feel free to email and let us know more on what you’d like to achieve.

    Cheers,

    Tim
    Co-founder, Trunk.ly

  2. Thanks Tim. I wasn’t really complaining about the lack of content creation ability, just noting that it wasn’t part of your vision for the tool.

    I think it’s way better to do one thing well than bloat your design to encompass everything possible.

    But anyway, thanks for paying attention.

  3. I’m curious as to how you find the differences between Pinboard and Trunk.ly. Mainly because I’m thinking about setting up an archival account with pinboard.in as I can see the value of that.

    What are your reasons for maintaining accounts at both?

  4. I have the trunk.ly account basically because it doesn’t require me to do anything with it. I’m just treating it as a backup of the links I don’t need to think about.

    One thing neither of them does particularly well is import the tags from Google Reader (Pinboard) or Pinboard (trunk.ly), but Pinboard is way better for adding them en masse later. I love Pinboard’s Organize feature, which gives you a view of the page, but has the metadata stuff in a frame at the top. That’s how I plow through a backlog of untagged links.

    I haven’t splurged for the archival account, but I can see the value of that too.

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