Home ThisIsLike Shows an Editable Web of Associations

ThisIsLike Shows an Editable Web of Associations

Trying to explain ThisIsLike to a friend ends up sounding like a junior high locker conversation: “He photographed a model, who is also a performing artist, who was in this band, and one of her bandmates was this other girl, who now writes for this website, which is actually similar to this other site, which was founded by this guy.”

That’s one way to explain the degrees of separation between two people. Another way would be to click through the photos, videos, links, and descriptions on ThisIsLike.com or watch our screencast of that process.

The site allows users to find and create associations between people, places, artistic movements, and just about any other hub for information. It’s like a Wikipedia with an even broader, richer trail of digital breadcrumbs between topics, or like a Last.fm, but not just for music.

The site is intended to be “a great recommendation system based on free associations rather than encyclopedic knowledge,” according to site representative Dmitry Paranyushkin, who emailed us earlier today.

Already, the site has a slew of music, art, and philosophy entries and links. Paranyushin also sees ThisIsLike as a great tool for travelers in need of dining and entertainment advice. “When you come to a new city,” he wrote, “you want to find a restaurant or a club that you like… Through ThisIsLike.Com, you can find some restaurant you already know and like and see what places are like that restaurant in the city you’re visiting. If it’s not yet in the system, you can add it, and other users might associate it with something they know.”

Paranyushin further envisions the site becoming a great resource for those in the education and entertainment fields.

ThisIsLike allows users to add items and import information from Wikipedia, Last.fm, Flickr, and YouTube, thus drawing on the huge body of knowledge readily available online and decreasing the data entry needed from users to build the site into a viable resource. Users can explore items through tag clouds, cities, topic guides, and specific events. They can also search between verticals to find, for example, venues related to their favorite musicians.

The site is handsomely designed, user-friendly, and based on an interesting, Linked Data-esque concept. On the other hand, it’s still very young, full of bugs, and in need of a diverse body of beta-testing users to flesh out the corpus. With enough time and a dedicated volunteer community, ThisIsLike could be an excellent, informative, and interesting resource.

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