There’s some interesting buzz around the blogosphere today about a tool called Zemanta (found via WebWare) which is a blogging tool that works in your browser as an add-on that suggests content and licensed pictures that relates to content that you are writing at any given time.
Once you’ve got it installed at any point that you start writing a post in your blog’s backend (it supports WordPress.com, Blogger.com, Typepad.com, and self-hosted WordPresses from version 2.0 onwards) it begins to suggest images, related articles, links and tags that relate to what you’ve written.
I am currently using Zemanta as I write this post and here’s the screen shot so far of what it’s suggesting so far (click to enlarge):
The suggestions update every 300 characters that you write – so as your article develops, so too do the suggestions that Zemanta comes up with.
When you see something that you like you can add it to your post by clicking them. If it’s a link Zemanta automatically makes the first mention of that word in your post that link (which is what I did with the first mention of ‘Zemanta’ in this post in the first paragraph.
It works similarly with tags, related articles and images. I’ll include some related articles at the bottom of this post as suggested by Zemanta.
You can see a demo of how it works in the video below:
So what do I think of Zemanta?
A few thoughts come to mind:
1. I like the concept – it has the potential to really add depth and interest to blog posts. The idea of adding related links, articles and images is a really good one.
2. I don’t blog in the back end of my blog – I use a blog editor (ecto). So I’d have to change my blogging workflow considerably to use it.
3. It’s a little Buggy – I’ve noticed even when writing this post that every time Zemanta updates my browser freezes a little and my cursor is taken to the bottom of my post, even if I’m not working on that part of the post. This is quite annoying as I jump around in my posts quite a bit. It’s also a pain because once you use Zemanta early in a post it puts a ‘Zemantified’ button at the bottom of your post – and then when it reloads suggestions your cursor gets put down below that (this could just be me, I’ve not seen anyone else complain of it).
4. Related Articles don’t always relate. They do on this article (it’s about Zemanta afterall) but I just tested it on my photography blog and kept getting ‘photo of the day’ suggested related articles that didn’t relate to my specific posts (I tested it with a few different posts).
5. In the preferences of Zemanta you’re able to add your Amazon affiliate id so that when they suggest Amazon links you can make them your affiliate links – nice.
All in all I like the concept – but it’s probably not something that I’ll be using at this point.
Keep in mind that I’ve been testing it for all of 20 minutes – so my observations are premature. I’d love to hear what others think of Zemanta?