On Friday I’ll be speaking at a Wharton School event on technology-enabled business transformation. I was asked to provide an outline of my talk, and decided to try using Listas to do that. Recently launched as a Live Labs technology preview, Listas is different things to different people:
Webware: It’s basically a social bookmarking service for keeping track of content you come across while browsing the Web.
BetaNews: The application can be used not only for lists, but for notes, favorites and other communal types of information.
WebPro News: Listas provides you with a WYSIWYG which allows you to quickly and easily create/edit lists and share them with others for read or write – in a sense a bit like a wiki.
Although none of those reviews describes Listas as a web-based outliner, it is one. You don’t get drag-and-drop list reorganization, as with iJot or some others. And it currently exports RSS only, not OPML. But you can shuffle things around using the toolbar controls. And there are also some keyboard controls: you can use tab and shift-tab to indent and outdent. It was easy enough to make an outline of my talk.
As always when I try a new outliner, I find myself asking: Why don’t I make regular use of outlining? I believe that I should, and whenever I do feel virtuous, but it never becomes a habit. After all these years, and many different outliners, I don’t think that’s because the software lacks some magical feature that would convert me into a regular user. I suspect that outlining appeals to a cognitive style that’s more well-developed in some people than others, and I’m one of the others.