Remember way back when, back when most of us had a link blog of some sort? Scoble’s link blog—this was before TechCrunch btw—could launch a simple post or company into the stratosphere of cool. Somehow we’ve lost that link saving-sharing habit. Between Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other awesome tools for sharing cool stuff we find online, we’ve lost touch with the curated list of cool stuff we like.
Yes, Tumblr and Tumbleblogs do this, but I just don’t see the same level of needing to keep track of particular link blogs just for the sake of finding and reading cool new things.
Of late I’ve been actively stashing a ton of stuff into Evernote. Pretty much anything I think could be interesting or useful to me later, I clip over to Evernote. Before I really got into Evernote as a budding power user—thank you Alex Samuels—I was using IFTTT to pull articles I stashed in Instapaper into an Evernote notebook. That worked okay, but the problem is that the Instapaper to Evernote trick I’m using taps into my Instapaper RSS feed—which doesn’t include the post content—so the "I think this article will be valuable to me later" value is diminished.
Yesterday I came upon Postach.io and started trying it for quick and easy blogging from Evernote—Tris Hussey | Tris Shells Out. The idea behind Postash.io is pretty simple (I found it through Techvibes). You use the Evernote API to hook up a specific Evernote notebook to Postach.io. When a note in there is tagged "published" it’s live. If it isn’t tagged published, it’s a (private) draft.
I gave the system a little test drive last night and thought it was pretty simple and easy to use, so…what’s next? How about creating a simple link blog? Sounds good. I clip tons of stuff every day, so I have plenty of fodder.
When I clip articles into Evernote I clip the whole article into Evernote. I need the entire article in Evernote for my research and archiving needs. Just wholesale copying that note intp the Postach.io notebook wouldn’t be a good idea then. I don’t want to mess with folks’ content like that. Regardless that the post would have a link back to the original, it would be their entire post on my blog—and that’s just not kosher.
Then thinking about IFTTT again. I had the recipe already set up for Instapaper to Evernote, how about just pointing the Instapaper posts to the Postach.io notebook and tagged with "published"? That, actually, works pretty well (as you can see if you visit the link above). The only flaws I’m seeing in this model right now is that the navigation on Postach.io to read more than a few posts at a time is lacking (that could be a theme choice) and still the Instapaper feed doesn’t give even a short snippet of the post.
What would be really cool, though is something like an Evernote to WordPress connector. Last time I looked, such a tool doesn’t exist, but I think IFTTT could add it.
Working like Postach.io, you just need to pull more Evernote data (notebooks and tags mostly) and if something matches certain criteria (new note in a notebook, tagged in a certain way) use XML-RPC to post to a WordPress blog. IFTTT has the WordPress posting part and can create a note when I create a new public note link in Evernote, but the flexibility of Postach.io is missing.
Putting all this together, if you could get better data from Instapaper and more info from the Evernote API on IFTT you could create something where you could send posts directly to an Evernote notebook that could be automatically posted via XML-RPC to a blog.
Most of the parts are there…just a couple details remain.
So why bother?
The posts and links and cool stuff we share (and find) on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are really, really hard to find later. Unless you click and stash everything to something like Instapaper or Evernote (or both), chances of you finding that helpful or inspiring post that you remember vague bits from, are slim.
Hence the return of the link blog.
Not just (though these are certainly appreciated) funny stuff we find online, but the important stuff, the interesting stuff, stuff that might matter to people a few months or years from now. Yes, I’m talking about a return (reemergence) of your own curated content archive shared to the world. Not like Flipboard’s Magazine feature (I’m dying to try it soon), which you don’t own or control, but on a site you own and control (and can export your data from at any time).
I know that owned curated content won’t become a mainstream thing. I know that only a few people will bother to do it. However, that’s always been the case. Not everyone kept libraries in their homes of more than a few books. Not everyone blogged. Not everyone saved and kept links for later. Not everyone shared what they found.
But a few people did and they helped all of us find the interesting things that shaped the world.
Maybe we can get back to that. The modern librarians of information and content.
The pieces are here, some just need to be polished and refined and we’re there.