Trailfire – promising Firefox extension to create social trails through the web

I am kind of surprised to not have seen this come through my aggregator yet as it’s the kind of thing I thought the connectivist and open education crowd would be quite excited about. Maybe I just missed it, or maybe that just shows how clued out I am. Anyways, when I stumbled on this app the other day it was quite exciting as it’s something I’ve been seeking for a while.

Trailfire is a Firefox extension which allows you to easily create ‘trails’ through the web. ‘Trails’ are in essence sequences of webpages which can be annotated and can be shared with others. For instance, here’s is a trail I just created showing some of the applications I’ve found for creating trails online (how recursive!). Here’s another example, a trail on ‘elearning’ by someone called Ideanoth, and here’s another someone built to take you through learning CSS.

Each node in a trail, called a mark (and really just equivalent to a unique URL) can also receive comments from other users, so you can start to build up a bit of a threaded discussion around the nodes in a trail, and in addition, you can set the trailfire extension to show you any other marks from other users that have been set against any webpage. So all of a sudden, you can start to see how a specific resource can show up in multiple frames of reference.

Have a look; I think you could find fault with the interface and parts of the implementation, but I know the idea of being able to model how I’ve learned something by laying down trails that can then serve as the basis both for discussion and as starting templates for others’ trails really appeals to me as a way to ‘teach’ on the open web. – SWL

7 thoughts on “Trailfire – promising Firefox extension to create social trails through the web”

  1. It’s an interesting concept.

    As for the reason for the lack of posts – could be because nobody has found it. Certainly, I haven’t heard mention of it before your post (I’m not everywhere, you know πŸ˜‰ ).

  2. It got me thinking about another thing, “circles of trust” (I’m sure there’s actually some official term about this) – wouldn’t it be great if applications like this let individual users define the circle of people whose comments they would like to see. I’m not talking about barring others from seeing ours, but instead of going to a webpage and seeing every single other person’s trailmark show up on a page, or seeing every comment someone had left on one of their trails, would it not be cool to be able to say “only show me the comments from users in my explode friends group” or “only show me comments from users in my skype contacts list.” Not access control, but filtering based on existing social networks I’ve set up. Anyways, glad it was of some interest. Cheers, Scott

  3. I have to say that I have been using trailfire for a few months now and I love it. It’s an awesome extention to have. They keep making upgrades to it and making it better and better. That’s just what I think though…

  4. I would love it if you did a workshop (or set up a web resource — I’d help if I can) on Firefox extensions. The Dapper one looks cool, as does this one… I get the sense you are scraping the edge of some very cool stuff, and I wanna play too!

  5. Hmmm, I sense a gauntlet being thrown down (but in a good way) – I like this idea, but now let me think about doing this fully online. I really appreciate the suggestion, sometimes it takes someone else to identify a common thread in what I’m doing. Onwards ho!

  6. I noted this in my linklog in mid Feb, but that just means I saw it and wish I had time to investigate– I’m digging all the notes about really using it!

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