Dear Semantic Web: We’ve been growing apart for some time so I’m sure it comes as no surprise that I’ve found someone else and her name is …

Dear Twine

I had such very high hopes for us. You were the apple of my eye. The solution to problems I didn’t even know I had. But then, as often happens, things cooled down; the passion slowly seeped out of our relationship, and a more muted kind of relationship began. This one was based on cold hard reason – not just infatuation. And that’s when the trouble started.

Look, this isn’t easy. I wanted to believe. Really. We’ve been together for months and I’ve been telling all my friends about you. But now I can’t help feeling that the semantic future has fallen a tad flat. Maybe we should have dated for a while before moving in together.

But now I know that behind your sexy promises was just another social bookmarking service.  Oh sure, it’s great that you already know how to tag something when I link to it … but that’s like putting a new set of tail fins on the Buick: it’s still just a bookmark – not the dazzling self-referenced master work you promised.

That’s what hurts the most: you broke a promise to the one who defended you, stood by you, cared for you. Was I a fool? I thought the point of semantic applications was to bring relevant information out of the cloud (whether that cloud is the web, the desktop, etc.) and insert it into what I am already doing like an invisible reference clerk working tirelessly behind the scenes. If I have to halt my thought process to search for, find, and insert that perfect word/information/photo/metaphor to express my idea or support my arguments then the whole point is lost. You’ve become just another gold-digging web-slut. There I said it. You’ll put out for anyone. We’re not exclusive. And you’re not even ashamed. I feel sorry for you.

But I really feel sorry for me. Why? Because instead of bringing order out of my chaos, you are leaving the cluttered drives that hold my most sacred stuff just as you found them. A mess. A millstone around my neck. And that’s how they will remain until the cloud of information on the Internet (hereafter simply “the cloud”) become self-aware enough to seek relevant places in which to insert information in my work instead of waiting for me to identify relevant information for you to insert.

So now I must find another to be that silent reference librarian and more – to be the constant, streaming feed of relevant information I need. One intelligent enough to find its place in my calendar, documents and e-mail, aggressive enough to suggest relevant information at every turn, yet gentle enough to stay with me even after I’ve ignored them time and again. In other words, I need a better semantic application.

Am I asking too much? Who knows. I may never find what I’m looking for. In the meantime though let me just close by saying … it’s not you. It’s me. Good luck and I hope you find someone that loves you despite your flaws.

– Mazy Hedayat, (former) Twine devotee

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