Dude! Where’s my Content? (Or Mashups in a Nutshell)

My client asked: “Where do you store your content?”

I blinked. Once. Twice. “What do you mean?”

“You were talking about using the blog to store content. But where are the videos, photos and words stored? How do you migrate all that content over [to a new website]?”

Ahhhha!

They didn’t know how a mashup works. They didn’t know how I could pick up a YouTube video, write something (literally) around it and add a couple of photos and links to other sources – while not owning any piece of content, except for the comments – and post it onto a blog. And if I needed to migrate content. I’ll just export and viola, it’ll automatically appear elsewhere in its entirety.

To me this distributed process is quite intuitive, but not so to others. So I thought I share what I understand about mashups: what is it, why do it and how to get the most of it.

What is a Mashup?

A mashup is anything that results from a combination of data from different sources. Mashups could be accessed and found across the World Wide Web. It is considered to be one of the new types of web content today – an indication of the Web 2.0 phenomenon.

A mashup usually refers to the merging of two or more sets of content from different sources using a web application.

From: tech-faq.com

This blog post is a mashup. Words from me, maps from Google, and images from somewhere else.

Other examples include Google maps. Google provided the map, while I added images to placeholders. The images were taken from Imageshack, an image hosting site.

View Little India – A walking tour.

Even more impressive is Explore Travellr, a student project where you input a search term and it returns a dashboard of related Flickr photos, Tweets and forum discussions.

 

image
Screenshot of Explore Travellr

 

Why Mashup?

You might hate to release control over their content but YouTube and Google let folks could use their content (videos and maps).That helped to increase their reach, awareness and pervasiveness.

Creating mashups could be content in itself. Like The Chemical Brothers who sample and remix other artistes’ music into something unique and interesting, you could do the same with other people’s content, ala Adolf Hitler talking about Chiropractic.

 

Tips for content creators

  1. Create bits and pieces of content that “live” on different platforms. such as video clips on YouTube, opinions on blog posts, images on Flickr or Picassa, and podcasts well… somewhere.
  2. Let other folks share and use your content. Ask them to link back to your content if they’ve used it – interactive attribution.
  3. Include links  to your main website on the pieces of content. It could be a watermark, within the description or within the profile. Why lose out on an opportunity to  promote yourself?
  4. Create mashups of what’s out there. WordPress Master has a nifty trick on how you can customise and mash RSS Feeds to feed into your blog.
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