Sunday, December 14, 2008

Is This Your Paper On Single Serving

Is This Your Paper On Single Serving Sites? is an interesting piece by  Ryan Greenberg about minimalist sites that have only one purpose.  

Most sites try to be mega portals that do everything. 

          "There is, however, a growing and unusual phenomenon where site authors pursue a different approach. Many people have created sites that span merely a single page and do one thing—or nothing. These sites, which writer Jason Kottke termed “single serving sites” in February 20081, capture visitors’ attention for a fraction of a minute, a tacit acknowledgement of the economy of attention in which they operate. In this space they express many traditional messages that have found an emerging new form of expression on the Internet. Dozens of tiny, single serving sites provide a venue for pop culture references, inside jokes, art displays, collective action, bids for peer approval, humor, and advice. Collectively they offer a perspective on the web as a platform for a unique brand of storytelling.


Categorizing Sites
          After looking at the general traits most SSS share, I attempted to sort them into a set of categories based on their purpose or operation. Once I had an initial set of categories, I classified all the sites in my corpus as a test of robustness and made some revisions. For example, I initially created a multimedia category since many sites simply play audio or video clips. It became apparent, however, that this characteristic was non-orthogonal to the others categories; some multimedia instances were pop culture references, others were interactive, and some were artistic expression. I abandoned multimedia as its own category. This left me with six categories: status sites, question sites, pop culture, information and instruction, advice and commentary, plus a selection of oddball sites which defied simple categorization.


          Question sites are closely related to status sites, and their names often take the same form. The distinguishing feature is that the answer these sites provide is not expected to change. Contrast, a status site, with, a question site. While Barack Obama’s status as president can change, he will never be muslin. Some question sites may offer judgments in their answers, like, which addresses whether it is acceptable to design webpages using the table feature for page layout purposes."

It's a fun read, enjoy. 

(From Kottke )

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