Blerp & Minsh: layering the web

 Posted by (Visited 9175 times)  Game talk, Misc  Tagged with: , , ,
May 132009

Blerp, a new property of the RocketOn folks, is a new social network with a twist. RocketOn, like Weblin, is a plugin that lets you layer stuff on top of the web. It was for avatars and MMOs, but now it’s been repurposed as a way to annotate the web. You get a frame around your browser that lets you drop text, pictures, and so on on various webpages. People you are linked to get to see the annotations, and you can slurp your networks from Facebook, twitter, etc. Blerp’s just opened its alpha, so check it out here.

Minsh is a little different; it adds a virtual worldish layer to Twitter by representing the people you follow as fish. They use little chat bubbles to tweet, and you can click directly on them to reply. I suspect that using this tool will drive users further towards synchronous use of Twitter… It’s in closed alpha, but here’s a video:

  10 Responses to “Blerp & Minsh: layering the web”

  1. I’ve already read about Blerp, I was hoping to get your musings on the concept, Raph. Do you see this concept (annotating the Web) ultimately succeeding to reach mass-appeal? Or will it merely carve out a niche community like so many other community-oriented sites?

  2. I think annotating the web has great promise. But I think the main value in the annotations may lie in serendipity and in following people whose opinions you care about. Serendipity is well-served by Blerp. Following people, less so; you really want that stuff aggregated, not have to chase it down. Would you rather find my thoughts about Blerp here, or as an annotation on Blerp’s website? I suspect if you found them on Blerp’s website, you would think it was cool, but if you were actively following, you’d rather see them via a feed of some sort: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, something. Now, Blerp may offer that as well, but at that point, the value-add is a lot less.

    Public annotations are more interesting in a lot of ways, I think. Like what happens when Yelp reviews are stuck on the actual restaurant website?

  3. Hey Raph!
    Thank you very much for this blog post :))
    We will create a fish for you so that you can try Minsh!

  4. there was a full on wired hyped yellow stickies vc based company during web1.0.

    tried it once. then uninstalled it
    i cant remember the name..


  5. i <3 this type stuff.

    now i have , , , and blerp on this blog i’m playing around with:

    “don’t hate the layer, hate the lame!”

  6. Hi Raph,

    Thanks for covering us. I noticed your comment below. Good point about the feed. We’re actually implementing a feed on Blerp now, and it will tie into your Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and other social network feeds. The feed will show all your friends’ blerps. I agree, the feed element is critical so you don’t have to chase down the blerps you care about.

    CEO of RocketOn

  7. Excellent, Steve! šŸ™‚

  8. When I tried Weblins, I didn’t like them. I found them creepy. I’m not sure why.

    Years ago when I was about 13, this is ancient history, we didn’t have the Internet or anything like that. We had these goofy teen magazines and stupid school-approved magazines from Scholastic that just cried out to be marked up with metadata, metacommentary, meta caricatures.

    So one of our favourite things to do was to take these magazines with the insipid teens in them and mark them up, put balloon dialogues out of them, make them seem like they were teachers saying hilarious things, etc.

    And naturally when we were caught with this meta-commentary we were severely punished in detention after-school, and perhaps rightly so, although it didn’t deter us.

    There’s something about a meta-layering to media that brings out that sort of pranksterish teenage behaviour — it’s what you see in backchat in SL meetings when a person is in voice, and everybody else is reacting in text.

    The people on the page can’t enter into a dialogue with that meta stuff unless they join too. And of course they can’t block it.

    Ultimately, it will be hard to get away from a feeling of defacement or graffiti on this, even though of course the cool kids will hype it as the latest ne plus ultra in social media activity. I wonder if it will catch on…

    Like Wikipedia, it will likely first fill up with sectarian leftist critiques of evil capitalist corporations and media magnates and politicians, etc. — by anonymous people who themselves don’t have to answer for those kinds of statements.

    So, rather than make the web more immersive, it just seems like the Internet Fuckwad theory goes real-time and maybe 2-D or 3-D, and far from becoming immersive, it becomes just obnoxious.

    But I could be wrong. I’ll certainly check it out.

  9. […] as pointed out by Ralph Koster, this marriage of virtual worlds and Twitter could lead to synchronous communication in Twitter, […]

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