Sometimes it is hard to visualize how the World Wide Web is interconnected, how one web site can lead to another and to another, and so on and so forth. For those individuals that are on the Internet all day every day it is a bit easier, because you experience it firsthand through the people you meet and the paths you take to gather information. However, for those individuals that need to see rather than experience how the web works there is a web site called Walk2Web. <!--more-->
This site demonstrates visually, and in real time, how one web site or blog is tied to hundreds and thousands of other sites. A word of warning...when you go visit walk2web.com it has a live site show which means it is streaming live web sites, apparently without filtering out adult content. So be prepared to see some very questionable material pop up from time to time.
When you get to the site there is an area to enter in a URL (this is your starting point) and from there you walk the web. Once you enter in a blog or web site Walk2Web starts showing you the sites that are linked to your starting point. There are no more than six at a time, split between incoming and outgoing links with options to display more in either direction. The network grows as you explore, and is color coded to make it easy to differentiate between incoming links (green) and outgoing links (blue).
You can further explore a link by scrolling or clicking on it, the program then shows you a screen shot of the linked site and will also display the site's RSS feed so you can see the most recent posts. There are also visual cues (plus and minuses) that show you positive and negative indicators of the community.
There is a browser plug-in for Firefox and Internet Explorer that brings the interface to you. "So if you wind up on a site that is worthy of a little walk on the Web 2.0 side, simply start the walk from there to bring up the network.
There are widgets of course, one that allows your visitors to walk you and one that displays the live site feed on your blog or web site. Not sure I will be displaying the live site show since anything can and does show up on that feed but a link showing visitors who I am connected to would be cool.
Overall this is a very interesting tool that can either help you understand the inner workings of the web, or that can just be used to take a walking tour of the World Wide Web.
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