Weekly Web 2.0 -- Two Web 2.0 Tools to Know About

Stix.to helps you customize the Web; Diigo helps you make sense of it.

by / October 20, 2008

Welcome to The Weekly Web 2.0, a new featurette I'll be posting each week here on Govtech.com. I'll be scouring the Web to bring you two interesting 2.0 tools that I hope you'll find worth checking out. Some finds may serve you professionally, while others might be better for personal business. Hopefully a few will do both. This week I explore stix.to and Diigo.

In some ways, stix.to is like a GIS application. However, instead of creating layers of data on a map, you create them on Web sites. Once registered with stix.to (it's free), members can add layers to any Web site they wish. Available layers include pictures, videos, chat boxes, comment boxes and even audio messages. For example, suppose you're a stix.to member and you visit Govtech.com and find a story you're interested in. You could then create a comment box and write anything you wish. Other stix.to members would see your comments when they visit the site.

Or let's say you're a Sacramento Kings fan and a stix.to member. You could visit the Kings' home page and create a photo layer featuring pictures from games you've attended, shots of you posing in your jersey or whatever else you felt like including. Again, other stix.to members who visit the Kings' home page could see your photos and add their own.

At its heart, stix.to is a tool that lets users customize any Web page without actually changing, recoding or hacking anything. And, being a good 2.0 site, users can share their customizations with other stix.to members.

Web 2.0 is all about content -- creating, sharing, tagging, etc. But one challenge of Web navigation is filtering through so much unwanted material. That's where Diigo purports to come in. Diigo bills itself as a collaborative research tool, as well as a knowledge-sharing community and social content site. That's a generic description, but Diigo separates itself from the pack by letting you highlight Web sites just as you would highlight passages in a book. You can also write virtual sticky notes and place them around the World Wide Web.

When users highlight parts of a site, that content is saved on Diigo's servers, allowing users to quickly retrieve and share whatever information they've deemed pertinent. Have you ever found something on a particular Web site you wanted to remember but it slipped your mind? With Diigo, anytime you find something of interest, just highlight it and you can return to that data whenever you please. Plus, all your highlights are nicely organized for you, blog-style, on Diigo.com.

While there are many definitions of what Web 2.0 is, most would agree community and sharing are integral to the Web 2.0 experience. Therefore, anything a Diigo user highlights or adds a sticky note to can be shared among other Diigo users.

Chad Vander Veen

Chad Vander Veen previously served as the editor of FutureStructure, and the associate editor of Government Technology and Public CIO magazines.

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