Since my review will be rather long, I figured I’d tell you why I like LinkRiver so much. I’d call it a more organized Friendfeed without the social features. I actually love that LinkRiver doesn’t have any social features (yet)! Yes, I’m all about socializing, but LinkRiver is one of the few sites that I can get the great content that I came for and go about my business. No extra stuff. No lollygagging.
When I previously spoke with developer Adam Stiles, he did have some social networking features in mind, however his biggest concern was implementing them in the correct way. I wholeheartedly agree with his decision to refrain from throwing any commenting system on top of a really great web service. This is a great example of not following the crowd and it’s actually helped to keep me as one happy LinkRiver user!
It’s simple, and way more organized than the many services that attempt to do the same.
Your River, Your Stream
In my ‘River’, I get to see every link that has been shared by those who I’m following on LinkRiver. I should note that I’m only following a handful of people, but these are people who I know personally and who share some of the most amazing stories that I’d never find on my own! I feel that the most relevant content I could ever find is all here in one place and I must admit that I’m always at odds on whether to check LinkRiver or Friendfeed first for new stories to discover and read. If I’m in a rush or just want to get down to work, LinkRiver is my best bet!
My ‘Stream’ is a history of all the links I’ve shared using both the LinkRiver bookmarklet and my Google Shared Stuff feed. I also have the RSS feed of SheGeeks being automatically imported into LinkRiver. Even though this same feature is seen on a couple of other services I use such as RSSmeme and Friendfeed, LinkRiver provides an entirely more organized way of viewing not only my history, but my reading habits. I find it to be a better history feature compared to my own web browser and the social bookmarking site I use.
Search, Attention, and APML
I LOVE LinkRiver’s search tab! I can search my own river of shared items or I can search my stream and see what someone else might’ve shared with the same keywords. The best part of the search feature for me is the ‘Deep Search’. This allows you to search not just the title of the items, but the actual content. It uses Google’s Custom Search and I think this is a very nice addition. It takes some of the load off of LinkRiver and leaves one the best search engines in the world to do some heavy work and do it well!
The ‘Attention’ tab is just a neat statistics tab to let you know what sites most of your shared items are coming from and also the most keywords that are shared. I’m not at all surprised that my keywords are mainly pertaining to social technology. Clicking on the keywords leads you back to the search tab where you can see the links that have been shared that use said keywords. I find this to be a great way to find relevant articles quickly. You can also download a handy attention Markup Profiling Language, AMPL, file.
APML allows users to share their own personal Attention Profile in much the same way that OPML allows the exchange of reading lists between News Readers. The idea is to compress all forms of Attention Data into a portable file format containing a description of ranked user interests
Later & Similar Links
Recently Adam Stiles implemented two great features into LinkRiver: Later and Similar. I think they’re pretty self explanatory, but marking an item for ‘later’ simply stores it in your later tab and the similar feature allows you to find similar links using LinkRiver’s search feature. I’m using the later bookmarklet that Stiles made available when releasing the feature. For me, it’s better than simply bookmarking items in Firefox or on a bookmarking site because I honestly never go back to them and after a while, they can become irrelevant. I haven’t had this problem with LinkRiver, but that may be because I visit the site on a daily basis.
LinkRiver Makes Me Productive
I like that LinkRiver isn’t a hype service; there are no distractions on this web service. It’s powerful and also helps me be more productive and efficient. This is the key to LinkRiver’s success and a very beneficial one for users of LinkRiver. And yes, it’s awesomesauce approved!