Zigtag’s Social Features: Zigtag Groups

Zigtag groups are a great new approach to collaborative research and learning that allows any group of people to share resources and discuss the group through a forum.

Groups can be private (only members can see the content of the group), membership (everybody can see but only members can contribute), and public (everybody can see and contribute). Create a group for your team at work, for your class or club, or find others who share specific interests!

Posting to a group is easy and there are a few ways to do it:

  • In the sidebar, choose “Tools” > Post to Group, and all the groups you are a member of will show up.
  • Also in the sidebar, click on “Share page”, and choose the “Post To Group” tab.  This way allows you to post the currently displayed page to many groups at once.
  • In the “Explore tags” page, you can right-click a result to post to a group.
  • For advanced users only: You can also type “@<Group name>” in the sidebar “Enter tags” box; choosing a group from the drop-down will not add a tag, but will post to the group instead.

Groups also have discussion boards, which make it easy to communicate with other group members or users with similar interests (read the post on them here).

Searching groups is also easy – on the website, you can choose a group that you’re a member of, and then filter posts by their tags.  Zigtag groups make organizing your groups’ bookmarks a flash!

Introducing Group Discussion Forums

Viewing the group homepageAs part of our firm commitment to the social networking benefits of online bookmarking, we have introduced discussion forums to Zigtag groups.

Groups make it easy to network and share with other users who have similar interests. They are useful as a collaborative tool (e.g. for sharing sites with coworkers related to a particular project) or as a way to meet new people.

With the new forum features, we have improved upon the bookmark sharing aspect of groups by making it possible to discuss topics with other group members. As an example, imagine that you are taking a vacation with friends to a different country. You can create a group dedicated to this trip, and add related pages as you find them (hotel sites, city information, tourist hot spots, and so on). You can then start discussions with your friends about the different things you would like to do, where to stay, etc. Zigtag groups are your one stop shop for any sort of event planning.

More on how to share bookmarks to groups and other group features coming soon on the blog!

Replying to a group forum message

Zigtag Plugin – Introduction

Zigtag has an extensive sidebar add-on for Firefox that is always ready for you to quickly save the pages you find interesting.

The Zigtag sidebar has four different tabs – “Tag page,” “Explore,” “Share” and “Links.”

The “Tag page” tab is the default tab, and allows you to add tags to a page and quickly see the tags that have been applied to a page.

Entering a Tag

To add a tag, put the cursor in the “Enter tag here” box, and start typing. Hit enter to apply the tag to the page. The new tag will show up just below that box.

When you enter a tag, Zigtag will try to match a defined tag to what you have entered in the type-ahead. For example, typing “appl” will generate “Apple,” “Applause,” and “AppleTalk,” which both start with “appl.” Arrowing-down or mousing-over these tags will bring up a longer tag definition so you can see which defined tag you want to use, for example “Apple (the fruit).” Select a tag by clicking it with the mouse, or by hitting “Enter.” The tag will show up below the “Enter tag” box (see above image).

If you mouse-over a tag that has been applied, a definition will pop-up to the right, just like when you searched for it in the type-ahead.

Note: You can enter any tag you want and it will be applied, it just won’t have a Zigtag definition associated with it. Tags with a definition will show up in bold, whereas tags without will show up in plain text, and mousing over them will show “no definition.”

Other “Tag page” Features

Zigtag allows you to mark a page as a favourite, or as a page you’d rather not see again, by choosing the “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” icon on the sidebar. Marking a page as “thumbs up” will alert other users that this is a good page, and it will also float to the top of your results when searching for a particular tag. Choosing “thumbs down” will indicate to other users that it is not a good page, and will push it down in your results. You do not have to tag a page to add a rating – you’d probably not want to tag a page if you think it’s a poor quality page.

Located below the “thumbs” rating system is a group of suggested tags that you can apply quickly to a page. These suggested tags are obtained from a variety of sources, and clicking on them will apply them to your current page. I’ll talk about suggested tags extensively in a future post.

Finally, at the bottom of the page is a news feed panel. It will notify you when:

* Someone confirms or requests your friendship.
* One of your friends tags a page.
* One of your friends creates a group.
* A page is added to a group you belong to.

This news feed is a great way to see new pages that your friends have found interesting – so keep the sidebar open while you surf the web to see what is going on in your Zigtag community!

RSS Feeds

We’ve been getting a lot of requests for a pretty basic feature – RSS feeds.  Well, the good news is that Zigtag is already fully RSS-compliant!

To get the RSS feed of a single user, the link is:
http://www.zigtag.com/rss/<username>

Note that if you subscribe to your own feed, this will only show public bookmarks (see a later post on Zigtag’s extensive privacy settings).  A later feature may be to offer a secure, authenticated RSS feed which will also show anonymous and private bookmarks.  Is this something you as a user would like?

Here are some other useful RSS feeds:

http://www.zigtag.com/rss/tag/apple/4042691 shows the bookmarks tagged with just a specific defined tag, here the tag defined as “Apple Inc.”

http://www.zigtag.com/rss/tag/scott/Apple/4042691 would show you all the things tagged with “Apple Inc.” by “scott”.

http://www.zigtag.com/rss/recent will show you a feed of everything that has been added to Zigtag recently, sorted by popularity.  It is the same list that is on http://www.zigtag.com/tag/

The only RSS feed that is currently referenced on the website is a specific user’s feed on their profile page, but in the next release we will expose the rest on the website, when exploring a certain tag intersection.