Time-Relevant Widget Needed?

Posted on April 20, 2008

Author and designer Jeffrey Zeldman recently left an interesting comment in a post where he discusses removing the Ma.gnolia bookmarks feed form his blog. In this interesting comment Zeldman discusses the need for a time-relevant plug-in that could unite content from Flickr, Twitter, bookmarking tools, etc.
For about six months, I've been trying to figure out how to create a plug-in that would associate any stream (such as Flickr, Ma.gnolia, and Twitter for example) with a given post, so that a post from a particular day in April 2008 would have photos and Tweets and links from that same day, or a user-determined close time frame.

The idea is to collect time-related objects, as one can easily do when hand-rolling a blog post in HTML, but as one presently cannot do with automated blogging software and social networking applications.

Imagine a blog post from five years ago that talks about your band, and is associated with Flickr photos of you and your band as you looked five years ago-not because you manually inserted the photos, but because time-linkage between web applications is possible.

Imagine a blog post from five years from now that talks about your wedding and is associated with Flickr photos of your wedding-not because you manually inserted the photos, but because time-linkage between web applications is possible.
The social feed aggregators like FriendFeed or Social Thing should be able to do something like this. Personal blogs especially might be more interesting if the day's blog posts, tweets and Flickr photographs could be shown together. This would give a great view of a what a person was doing on a specific date. On the other hand if people use their blog, Twitter, Flickr and other tools for completely different reasons then a time-relevant plug-in or widget would not gel at all. A category or tag oriented plug-in might work better for some blogs.

It does seem like a unifying widget of somekind is needed - something that is more advanced than your typical widget that sits in the sidebar. On FriendFeed, Twitter and elsewhere there has also been discussion of widgets or plug-ins that could bring comments and other data back to people's blogs again. In this era of rapidly launching web 2.0 sites you usually don't have to wait too long before someone develops the widget you have been waiting for.

Update 4-21-08: There is a Yahoo Pipes entry called RSS Filter By Date that pulls in time-relevant RSS entries. You can see it in action here on author Sonja Foust's blog.