Why can’t Web 2.0 companies just say what they do

My StatCounter is showing some incoming links from Trailfire. Not being familiar with it I hop on over to find out more. And I’m met with a series of inane statements that don’t really tell me what it does or why I will benefit from using it. The home page should tell me that much, but even clicking on the learn more link is no more enlightening.

Now I’m a busy person – but probably no busier than the rest of you – and I don’t have time to spend more than a minute or two figuring out if Trailfire is going to be useful, when I already have a 101 other web 2.0 ‘sharing’ tools competing for my limited attention span.

I suspect it might have something useful as looking at the link it is Todd Defren who is using it. But why can’t they just tell me why I should try it?

3 Replies to “Why can’t Web 2.0 companies just say what they do

  1. In an understated English way of course 😉

    You posted about Trailfire when I was away most of the week so I missed it in my catch-up.

    But Why didn't the Trailfire home page just say "Take the 30 second tour to understand it"

    Or even make the about page the home page. The home page tells you nothing:

    "Trailfire can be used for hundreds of reasons, ranging from serious research to serious fun. Use trails to organize and annotate web pages or to communicate your point of view. Share your trails by sending them via email, posting them on your blog or by publishing them on Trailfire.com. Learn more."

    The learn more tells you even less.

    The about page (had I had the patience to look at it) explains it clearly:

    "Trailfire is a hosted service that enables anyone to comment on any web page. Place a 'trail mark' on a page with your comments or notes. A trail mark can contain text, images, videos and other media types. When you give several marks the same 'trail name' you are forming your own navigation path on the web. We call this a 'Trail'."

    You're right, this is actually worth thinking about and I can see uses.

  2. From the home page:

    "Mark web pages that interest you and add your comments. Stitch them together to form a trail."

    "Send trails to your friends, post them in your blog, or publish them on Trailfire.com."

    "Use Trailfire to communicate your own view of the web."

    I read that, thought "Memex", and away I went. This is because Vannevar Bush and his Memex dream have been in my thoughts (and part of my life) since 1980. Ever since Ted Nelson wrote about his work in Creative Computing. (It might have been 1981. Not sure.)

    I guess the Trailfire people assumed people would understand the value of hyperlinking and annotating web pages.

    I blogged about it and gave a simple example here:


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