Pearls, pearls, pearls

… and no fear of technology!

A few days ago, I started looking for Add-ons in Firefox. I already used some minor extensions like Gmail-Manager but now I was looking for a new one. It should be something to bookmark, but something fancy! Actually, I don’t remember how, but suddenly I discovered “Pearltrees” and as I love pearls I decided to have a closer look… and I was rewarded!

Pearltrees is a so-called social curation community which was created by Patrice Lamothe in Paris and went online in December 2009. Interestingly, there is only a French Wikipedia entry. With Pearltress you can organize, discover and share the web content you like. Sounds pretty common, but it isn’t. Have a look at this wonderful video and see for yourself:

How it works

Let’s say you’re following the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Germany. When you find World Cup-related articles you like, Web sites you enjoy, Twitter feeds from fans attending the event or Wikipedia pages of your favorite players, you can save these links in Pearltrees by simply clicking the Pearl-Icon in the Firefox Toolbar. Each link is represented as a “Pearl”. Put related Pearls together and you create a container circle, called a “Pearltree,” and name it “World Cup.” When you click on it, you see your collected Pearls, which fly out and organize themselves around the organizing Pearltree. Unless like most bookmarks, you can pearl for example just one blog post instead of the whole blog.

I thought, it might be complicated and time-consuming but actually, the use is easy and intuitive because of its lovely interface and I had a lot of fun discovering all the things that can be done with pearltrees, once I had quickly installed it in Firefox (where you can find the icons in the toolbar in the upper left side, next to the arrows). So, no time for fear, exploring this amazing toll rather fascinated and entertained me.

But back to the example: imagine, you follow several sports. You could create a pearltree called “Sports” with pearls like “Biathlon”, “Formula 1” and “Soccer” in it. Now drag the “World Cup” pearl into “Soccer” and everything is organized well.

But you might be also interested in other things, so create pearltrees “Music”, “Gardening” or “Economics”. Click to open it, drag and drop content as you like, move pearls around or put them into the bin if you don’t want them anymore. Instead of long bookmarking lists you will get nicely organized pearltrees, a little bit like nested folders but much more appealing.

Team up and share!

The really cool thing about Pearltrees is that you are not alone! You can browse the pearltrees others have created and if you find things that interest you, copy the pearl(tree) and add it to your own. Commenting on pearls gives other users an insight of the pearl itself and the number of hits shows the popularity of a pearl. How could I have saved time with my blog posts by searching via pearltrees what interesting pages others have found. If you put “Green Business” in the search bar, you’ll find a big pearltree with collection of extraordinary content concerning the topic.

Here you see the example of a tree called “Work/Internships” (which will be very interesting for us in the future) and the interface.

This pearltree is curated by a team. If you like the work they’ve done, follow their activity by adding the pearltree and if you join the team, you can add new content or edit old one. Curating web content in a team is the future of bookmarking! Pearltrees offers an easy way to find a large number of people who are very passionate about a variety of subjects and who have collected the kind of online content that true geeks are seeking.

Here you see my “NEWS” tree as an example.

Proud of all your work, share your pearls or whole trees in social networks like Facebook or Twitter. People can see what you have created and for sharing on your website, use the embedding function and choose what you like to embed and in which size you want to present your collection. It’s as easy as pie and the entire use of this fancy service is completely free to use. Pearltrees raised 3.8m Euros from Web personalities, business angels and friends and family, thereby it is funding the whole enterprise.

Users

When asked about the user profile of Pearltrees, founder Patrice Lamothe (have a look at his pearltrees!) answered that it is surprising. One third is geeks, one third bloggers and Social Media people and the other third is under 30 and the majority is female. Certain women use Pearltrees to plan their shopping, they create Pearltrees with the places they want to go and send them to each other so that everyone participating can add pearls (meaning new shopping places).1

Just up till now I had a lot of fun with this social bookmarking system. Using it is uncomplicated and in my opinion, it will be better and better when I harvested more pearls. Because I arranged them in a specific way, I will be able to find them again whenever I like. Here is just an example of a tree I created for BusApps:

Join me on Pearltrees and we can curate our favourite trees together!
1 : Source : http://fr.ubergizmo.com/2009/12/pearltrees-interface-de-navigation-web-en-collaboration-visuelle/
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About SparklinGesine

20 year-old girly girl from the eastern part of Germany, now studying at the Berlin School of Economics and Law. Loves music, cinema and this fancy invention called "internet". View all posts by SparklinGesine

4 responses to “Pearls, pearls, pearls

  • Sophie

    Hi Gesine!!!

    This is LOVELY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I WANT ONE TOOOOOO!!!!

    okay… after some random exclamations of joy I have to say, that I really liked that you tried pearltree on your own, showing us the link!
    It is such a good idea! Really!

    Like you, I tried to make the topic “fear of technology” really funny and still tried to tell people something new!
    I loved that you gave us pictures and little stories!

    I personally gave some screenshots and stuff, but I think it was nice as well, to see your approach!:)

    Thank you! I probably will not try Pearltree because I am lazy but I liked your presenation non the less… !!!!

    Sophie

  • garciana

    Hey!

    This seems to have been the perfect discovery for you! I must admit, I find it kind of trendy, too! A whole new world of bookmarking and sharing at the same time. It somehow reminds me of mindmapping since it can go on and on and on… Great, I will try it out! Thanks for the hint, nerdy girl! ;)

  • NerdyLaura

    Hey Gesine,
    I totally love pearltrees and the idea of sharing interesting links, articles, pictures and videos. It’s a great opportunity to form teams where every member can create, rename and delete as well as comment on pearls. I love our shared pearl called “Studies”! :)
    At the same time I found it a bit scary that every pearltrees user can see all my pearls. I still haven’t found a possibility to make some privacy settings to block the public access to some of my pearls.

    Well explained post. (Your sports example is really good chosen.)Thanks for this. It seems like our fear of technology totally disappeared. :)

  • itjohanna

    Hey Gesine! Chapeau!
    You made read all through your post eventhough I was kind of resistive to read through this long text but guess what – after starting I was not able to stop. According to my opinion, your pictures and the video are well chosen they are really appealing and the video is explaining all what’s necessary to make me want to start using “my pearls”
    I just love this discovery, I am a chaotic girl, you should see my room ;) but with pearls (what I definitely will check out) you gave me a little hope that i can improve regarding this habit…at least when it comes to surfing the internet! You found a gem here – or let me say… pearls, pearls, pearls.
    Thank you!

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