Getting my head around semantic media

Courtesy of Nesta

Courtesy of Nesta

As corporations and mainstream media outlets spend increasing amounts of time debating the impact of social technologies, as well as following that unfolding story, I have also found myself interested in what the future of the internet is. This led me to a conversation that has been happening since the web’s very beginnings but is only really beginning to gain traction now; namely semantic media.  Google has confirmed that semantic search is on the cards, suggesting that it will be the next big web2.0 conversation. Especially considering the fact that niche walled garden social networks are growing, threatening a possible ‘balkanisation’ of groups with specific interests away from each other into private internet world.

Voices on the blogosphere are already calling it ‘smart media‘ – distinguishing it from social media by highlighting the following differences:

  1. It’s an additional layer of information on top of your social tools, that provides structured precise information on objects on the web and in the real world, as well as explaining the relations between them
  2. It provides a framework for the easy integration of data, based on no more than the text on your blog or social network.
  3. It also allows you to connect information you have stored in disparate online networks, thereby creating better information sharing between networks you are part of.
  4. In search it uses XML and RDF data from semantic networks to remove ambiguity from search queries

In short, it’s all about enhancing and structuring content.

Still confused? Here’s an example…

Rather than adding tags and links yourself, semantic blogging tools like Zemanta collate videos, photos and other links based on the words that appear in your posts. You don’t have to add links! I’m very impressed. The tool is compatible with WordPress.com, so I’m going to trial it on here in two weeks’ time.

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