Pearltrees is the first and largest social curation community on the Internet. It’s a place to organize, discover and share all the cool content you find online.
However, beyond this basic definition, a question remains: why would I want to use Pearltrees?
Well, what I want to share with you are six major use cases (or reasons) we’ve identified as being most popular across our entire community of web curators.
Hopefully, you’ll not only get value in learning how the community uses Pearltrees, but also be inspired to find even more clever and creative ways to use our software yourself. (And if you do, we really hope you’ll share them with us. Just send a note to email@example.com or @ message me on twitter: @owstarr)
Here are the most popular general ways to use Pearltrees:
1. To give meaning as well as context to what you find on the Web. Every time you browse the web you find amazing content. Pearltrees lets you select, organize and manipulate this content in ways that are meaningful to you. Pearltrees allows you to create your own personal library of web content that you wish to organize and preserve. It makes it easy for you to classify what you want, whether that content is your funny videos, research for your job or simply topics you find interesting.
2. To archive your favorite online discoveries. How frequently have you wasted time searching for something you've found before on the web? With Pearltrees, you really don’t have to lose anything ever again. Since you organize your account the way you would organize your own personal library, nothing gets lost and it’s always at hand when you want it.
3. To re-use what you've done. Everyone does research on the web. Maybe you’ve looked for a great restaurant or a rental car agency in an unfamiliar city. But then years pass and you need to recover the same information once again. But where did you put that research? Instead of doing all the work over again, you can easily retrieve your results from the Pearltree you created the first time you did the work. Pearltrees allows you to create your own personal "memory of the Web."
4. To find rare content in your areas of interest. No matter what your interest, it’s certain that there are others that also enjoy that topic. The advantage of a community of curators is that everyone can benefit from the curation of others. The collective efforts of a community of like-minded people can vastly accelerate your own personal discoveries.
5. To "Team Up" and curate collaboratively. The other positive aspect of a curation community is the ability to acto together to curate topics of common interest. Organizing content with a group of people who share the same passion is a an experience unique to Pearltrees. Every time you return to a team pearltree it’s likely you’ll be delighted by the incredible new content that someone else has added. The trick here is to choose the right people to join your team. With whom will you edit your pearltrees?
6. To share the web pages you’ve curated with a single click. A friend asks you for information on a topic you are passionate about (for example the types of aliens that have appeared on every episode of the Star Wars saga). Rather than digging up all the links, articles, photos, interviews, etc, that you have bookmarked in an effort to inform your friend you can share your entire curated collection on the subject with a single click. Pearltrees is truly your web archive. Beyond these most common methods of using Pearltrees I promised earlier that I would share a few of my own personal favorite ways of using this powerful curation tool. Among the things I find most useful, I’d have to say that the "twitter sync" function is at the top of my list. If you use twitter like I do you probably tweet out lots of links. Not only do I tweet links because I think others will find them useful, but also because I found them valuable myself.
The problem is that aside from searching your personal twitter stream to get back to the cool stuff you tweeted there’s no great way to keep those links at hand. However, by turning on the twitter sync function in Pearltrees every time you tweet a link that link appears in your Pearltrees drop zone.
Note: For advanced users you can even hashtag the links you tweet with #PT and the name of a pearltree in your account (e.g. #$PT #star wars would put the link you tweeted in your “Star Wars” pearltree provided you have one. If not it will create that pearltree and place it in your root pearltree). Another way in which I use Pearltrees is by combining the twitter sync function with my foursquare check ins to let me quickly and easily create cool city guides as I travel around with my iPhone. All I do is check in and use hashtags to dictate where I want the check in information to appear. The information provided by foursquare gives me everything I need to create a detailed record of every interesting place I visit wherever I happen to be. I also love to review Apps using Chomp, and as one of their tastemakers I try to make sure to keep a record of all the apps I’ve tested so that people can benefit from my discoveries. Without Pearltrees, all these reviews would be very tough to keep organized but because I can tweet each review it’s simple for me to organize them in a way that makes sense for me and for people that want to keep tabs on what I’ve reviewed. As a blogger I have attended a lot of events. I used to try to live blog the whole thing to capture all the information but now I just use Pearltrees to create a record of what happened. It’s fast, it’s easy and it’s a lot more comprehensive way to cover something than to try to type sensible paragraphs while someone is presenting. Here’s an example of the Pearltree I curated at the DEMO conference last year. In addition to my own personal practices there are a few more examples of ways to use Pearltrees that I think you might find useful or at least interesting:
- PR agencies have been using Pearltrees to keep track of all the news, blog posts, stories and even tweets related to companies they represent.
- Teams of people have joined together to organize huge topics in ways that make them much easier to appreciate. Take a look at this amazing pearltree of TED videos or this one about Wikileaks to see what I mean.
- Big blogs, like TechCrunch and Huffington Post have used Pearltrees’ super-embed function to drop a pearltree directly into a blog post. This is a great way to add a lot of links and cool content to a blog post without risking losing your reader to one of the links you’ve added inline with your text.
The more I use Pearltrees the more I find it’s my go-to resource for keeping everything I do online in one place. I hope you’ll give Pearltrees a try - and if you like it that you’ll let us know! (It’s free and there’s no advertising so what do you have to lose?)
Oliver Starr is the Chief Evangelist for Pearltrees.com. Previously he was the first employee at TechCrunch and before that he founded and exited two companies, after which he decided he'd rather blog and evangelize than ever be a CEO again.