Hey, remember the spork? The bizarre utensil combining the properties of a spoon and fork? The spork is an analog mashup: a combination of two existing things into a third thing that has some of the positive attributes of its parents, but also has its own structure, pattern, and level of fragility.
The spork is a great example of a mashup because it’s simple—easy to understand, easy to parse, with a catchy name. Most mashups are more complex, and the internet has given rise to a multitude of digital mashups, combinations of APIs and content designed to leverage assets and code already written.
It’s estimated that in 2007 YouTube’s bandwidth exceeded the bandwidth of the enitre internet in 2000. The ever-growing well of content that the internet represents, in conjunction with huge media repositories like YouTube and open source APIs, isn’t just changing how we think; it’s changing how we build. And how we build is important because the structures we build end up dictating the spaces we occupy physically, mentally and socially … in the analog world, and on the internet.
In the first quarter of this year, my coworker Laurel Hechanova and I noticed that a growing number of the interesting projects we were working on, like the new branding page for Trinity College (part of larger relaunch that is not yet live) or design of a social media aggregator NMHbook were mashups.
So we spent the last few months taking a deeper dive into mashups, and the result was this presentation (download as PDF) for Eduweb 2010. We’ve taken care to curate by the mashups we felt were most compelling in higher education and beyond. While NMHbook is an mStoner project, the other examples are simply really nice projects we’ve selected so you can get an idea of what’s out there.
For easy reference, here are the examples shown in the presentation by category.
We also felt it was only appropriate to create our own mashup based on the live presentation. The second half of this blog post is a combination of Expression Engine and the Twitter API. Stuff you tweet with the #mashed_up tag goes into the second half of this post automatically. You’ve got an opportunity to say something insightful–or incendiary–that becomes a part of this post and the back channel simultaneously. The blog post also gives you a chance to drive traffic to your twitter channel. We look forward to seeing how your comments become a part of the mashup.