Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
July 20, 200910:45 AM

Single-Serving Websites Make A Tweet Look Rich In Content

One simple page with one simple feature. Is this the future of websites?

Do you remember the first time you saw Twitter? You probably laughed and thought to yourself, "this is moronic. Who cares what your cat ate for breakfast or that someone's doorbell doesn't work?" Granted, there are plenty of people who still feel this way about Twitter. In the August 2009 issue of Wired Magazine, there is a small news item titled, How Do I Make A Single-Serving Website? It turns out that Single-serving websites are becoming a very hot trend in the Twitter-world of, "keep it short, relevant and punchy."

Simply put, single-serving websites are stand-alone web pages that accomplish one task" and one task only, and (according to Wired) they are, "popping up all over the Net." 

Some examples include:

  • a site that lets you know if Lost is a rerun this week.
  • a site that is a guide for spelling the word, "definitely" correctly.
  • a site that lets you know if we're currently in daylight savings time (U.S. only).

And, as you can guess, there are many more.

Quirky, strange, geeky and just plain weird? You betcha, but this is always how a new way to communicate looks to those not on the bleeding edge.

Remember how you felt the first time you saw email, instant messenger, a BlackBerry, etc... all of these tools, channels and platforms seemed bizarre and outlandish as you questioned the merit and validity of them (at the time). Just imagine the many self-serving websites you can create to better explain what it is you do and why you do it. Better yet, imagine the countless ways you can empower and pass basic and simple knowledge on to your community.

You may be shaking your head and laughing at the idea (and value) of single-serving websites, but you'll never know the value until you try it yourself. 

Wired Magazine is looking for more single-serving websites and is encouraging the creators of them to post them here: Wired Single-Serving Website Generator.

By Mitch Joel


Comments Comments Feed
  • Posted by David Jacobs
    Mitch Joel

    I love this. I think it's brilliant, and I always have trouble spelling definitely. I'm not sure what the business model is but I would guess it's simply promotional.

    Reply
  • This is the distillation of the landing page. We've had them for a long while now - HasTheIceStoneMelted.com, MillionDollarHomepage.com, and plenty of others. They serve an important part of the ecosystem but are no more likely to replace regular web pages than a hammer is likely to replace a chainsaw.

    Unless you want to be one really frustrated logger.

    Reply
  • Posted by Ed Roberts
    Mitch Joel

    It's REALLY a stretch to compare Twitter with "is it daylight savings time" or sites like it. While Twitter is simple, it's far from single use.

    And like Twitter, I think the future of web sites are pages that people can take a concept from and easily find their own uses for it. Quirky and neat only goes so far. Useful is much more important.

    Reply
  • Posted by Amod Munga
    Mitch Joel

    Personally, I find single-serving sites a lot like bubble gum: you can only chew it for so long before the taste runs out of it.

    Take for example: http://www.ismichaeljacksonstillalive.com/

    It's OK the first time, then you pass it on to your friends and so on...then it dies out.

    Then what?

    Like I said, bubble-gum sites. Great the first time, not so great the next. But as long as there are internet memes, we'll have a (limited) use for them.

    Reply
  • Posted by Lenny Rachitsky
    Mitch Joel

    Some of them are actually rather useful day to day:

    http://www.simplecountrycodes.com/

    Reply
  • Posted by Nicole Filiatrault
    Mitch Joel

    A place for everything... and everything in its place - including single-serving websites. They definitely (did I spell that right?) have a role to play, just as "full meal" websites do when compared to Twitter, which BTW you could maybe call the Tim Horton's of media types (my local Tim Horton's is a real gathering place, regulars congregate to yak, catch up..). Some single-serving websites, like 411.ca, are useful and will make it. Others may not (love the bubble gum analogy above). In the end, we all know that the community will decide which ones make it and which ones don't.

    I can really see a role for this as a side dish to all kinds of other elements.

    Reply
  • Posted by Shane Mileham
    Mitch Joel

    There is a certain mesmorizing art with single serving websites. I don't know if they are the future, but with more accessibility to creating your own website I look forward to the creativity.

    Here is a single serving website that...lists single serving websites:

    http://singleserved.com

    Reply
  • Posted by Csaba
    Csaba

    Some of these sites are useful, but most of them are just for fun. A list of sites:
    http://www.singleservingsite.info

    Reply
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