Users do the darndest things

One of the fun things about creating a new tool is discovering that people find lots of unexpected ways to use it.

We thought Pullquote would be most used by people looking to quickly tweet out a link to a particular data-filled paragraph or particularly salient (or egregious) sentence.

That’s happening, but some users report they’re even more excited about other twists:

  • a minister writes that Pullquote “works well for my theology discussion group because it allows me to share a quote that is like a teaser and then gets them to click on the link for the rest of the article.”
  • an editor said that he used Pullquote to flag a tiny error in a published article to another editor.
  • one user LOVES the infographic-like quotebox that we create between the link and the ultimate source page. (In fact, he thought that was the entire game for a while.)
  • one user reports that the specificity of Pullquote links helps settle (or at least advance) arguments in a political forum.

Big day for Pullquote(s)

Three cool things happened yesterday in the life of Pullquotes.

First, Lucy Marcus, who I met in the late 90s in London and reconnected with via Twitter, suggested we create a toggle in that lets people turn Pullquotes on/off in the extension bar. We mocked that up, and have it in the programming queue.

Second, Jay Rosensuggested we change the tool’s name to Pullquote. I swear we’d checked a month ago and that domain wasn’t available, but yesterday we were able to buy it for $1200. We’d much rather be a verb than Continue reading

So what is a pull quote?

Wikipedia defines a traditional pull quote as “a quotation or excerpt from an article that is typically placed in a larger or distinctive typeface on the same page, serving to entice readers into an article or to highlight a key topic.”

Pull quote image

In this sense, the term is commonly used by journalists, editors and publication designers. By surfacing the pithiest sentence, a telling detail, an essential data nugget, the smartest line of an interview, a pull quote entices readers to wade into an article or blog post.

Of course our tool Pullquotes takes a slightly different tact, allowing readers to easily Continue reading

Micro bookmarking: linking to ideas, not web pages

What’s a small new web tool without a portentous manifesto? We don’t have a big manifesto, but we do have some biggish questions.

Summary: It’s been two¬†decades since people started weaving myriad links among web pages.¬†Isn’t it strange that sentences and paragraphs, the foundational units of complex thought, still remain unlinkable, effectively online orphans?

What would change if anyone could link directly to an idea embodied in a specific sentence or paragraph on any webpage? While idea-linking seems minor, a mere technical twitch, history has shown that the small, seemingly happenstance attributes of various techniques and technologies we use to manage words — columns on library buildings, smaller books, swiftly printed newspapers, and a boundless Internet — can play a big role in shaping our thoughts.

Continue reading

Link directly to specific text on ANY web page

Sick of copy/pasting text, then going back to grab the URL? Tired of linking to articles, then hoping people read far enough to find the sentences that matter? Have you ever just wanted to link directly to a sentence on a web page? We’ve now enabled ANYONE to link directly to ANYTHING via a Chrome extension.

We’re slowly distributing invites to the tool — please shout if you want one.