I often find myself casting around for ideas for new posts or even what to write on a post I had thought about. It all makes so much more sense in my head. And then, a stroke of luck! On my dashboard there was a link to a story on Mark Ghosh’s blog Weblog Tools Collection. So I followed it. And that tortuos story brings us here, I installed a Firefox extension by Zemanta. Called Zemanta.
There will be screenshots later, but for now let’s talk about what it does. I quote their front page here:
Have your browser understand what you are blogging about and suggest pictures, links, articles and tags to make your posts more vibrant. We are making blogging fun again.
Effectively, this is a tool for WordPress, Typepad, Blogger and whichever other blogging engines they can eventually code for. It doesn’t live on your blog, it lives on your browser – this means that the plugin is unlikely to bring down your blog. It creates content on the sidebar of your “writing” page and suggests pictures, links, articles and tags for the article you are writing. Put down enough words and it will refresh and suggest.
I find this very handy. Often I am writing something and need links to illustrate what it is I am banging on about. This tool suggests them. In fact, it has already suggested links for me:
As you can see, it links to Wikipedia. Personally I think they get enough links as it is so I’ll be changing them. That said, they don’t insert unless you click the buttons.
I changed the links, I definitely think that Wikipedia gets enough links all on it’s own.
That said, take a look at the sidebar:
It’s happily sitting there, blending in and suggesting away. The wee little arrows allow you to shrink or expand the suggestions as you wish.
The two other great things about this are the low low price of absolutely nothing and the fact that the developers keep an eye on requests and suggestions and fix any issues very quickly.
It is by no means perfect, I would like to see non-Wikipedia suggestions for URLs, the gallery seems equally fond of Wikipedia – it’s a great project, but the web has billions of pages and wikis are not the be-all-and-end-all of the internet.
However, if you are blogging on a subject and need help with some of the links – whether for information or on whoever else has blogged on it – I would have to suggest this tool. It’s easy to install and equally as easy to uninstall, it is a Firefox extension after all.