At a dinner event earlier this week, Flickr co-founder Stewart Butterfield casually mentioned a site called Wordie, whose tagline is “Like Flickr, but without the photos.”
Butterfield was amused by the site. Coincidentally, we had just spoken with Wordie founder John McGrath the day before, and we were too. Wordie is like a bag of tricks. It’s a way for users to keep track of words they like and want to remember.
“It’s kind of a combo toy, dictionary, thesaurus, and social networking site…but mostly a toy,” McGrath said.
If you visit Wordie, you’ll see that the site is more about fun than anything else. You won’t necessarily build up your lexicon because there are no definitions there, only links to definitions. But you can keep track of those words that you hear or read and know you’ll want to use again like troglodyte or gouache. When you look up new words, you see links to various definitions, as well as a list of other users who have marked that word to remember. It’s silly but somehow addicting in the way Flickr is addicting.
McGrath had just finished writing Squirl, a social networking site for collectors, when he decided to write Wordie for his friends. It is written with Ruby on Rails.
“I get a lot of email from people saying they thought it was a ridiculous idea and then spent two hours entering words and checking out other people’s words,” McGrath said. “It has a simplistic charm.”
Butterfield brought up Wordie in a conversation about how we define social media and Web 2.0 applications. I’m not sure Wordie is either but it is nifty and a fun way for those of us in the Web 2.0 industry to find/use our sense of humor.