How many times have you bookmarked a site, or put it in your favorite’s folder at work, only to get home and think: “oh no…bugger!”
This is where social bookmarking comes in really handy.
The coolest thing about social bookmarking is that you can access your bookmarks (firefox people), or your favorites (IE People), from anywhere; home, work or a friend’s computer.
It is pretty much an online home for your favorite’s folder.
The other nice thing about social bookmarking sites is that they allow you to share your favorite sites and pages with friends, family, and colleagues – if you want to – or, you can mark your bookmarks as private.
Del.icio.us is considered the original social bookmarking site, and this is the one I wanted to focus on today.
It was created in 2003 by Joshua Schachter as an informal way to share Web pages between his friends. From there it pretty much took off, and in December 2005, Yahoo acquired delicious for some huge amount of money that has never been disclosed.
Now, it has more than 3 million users and 100 million bookmarked URL’s.
But why should you use this?
Well, let’s say you’re a Web developer who uses the Web to find specifications, or converters, or sites that offer snippets of code. There are so many out there, it gets tricky keeping up.
If you bookmark or favorite it in your browser, you’d usually file it under one category. . For instance, let’s say you find a great color palette site. On your computer, it goes under Tools; on Delicious, you can tag it Tools, CSS, Colors, Palettes – you get the idea. Whatever key words or tags will help you find it later on. – Delicious makes finding your saved stuff a lot easier
To sign up, first go to delicious dot com and sign up for a free account. Don’t worry about the strange spelling of it you’ve seen; originally the URL was del.icio.us, nowadays you can just type in delicious.com and you’ll be redirected.
While you’re signing up, you’ll see a couple of toolbar buttons to add to your browser, grab them, they’re useful. The nice thing about Delicious is that it doesn’t put yet another toolbar in your browser, just the two buttons.
The first one “My delicious” will take you, once you’ve signed up, to your page on delicious so you can get to your bookmarks with one click from your browser.
The second button “tag this” is how you add new bookmarks to your delicious page. Whenever you come across a Web page you want to save, hit the tag button. This opens up a new window that automatically shows the URL of the page you are on, and the page title. You can add a description if you like, but the most important thing is to add the tags. These tags will help you find your bookmarks later.
On delicious, tags are separated by a space, no comma; in the tag section, type in as many tags as you need and it is saved to your delicious page. One word on tags though, they need to be single words – that is, they can’t contain spaces.
The beauty of this type of system especially for those of us who are useless at filing, is that it makes filing really, really easy.
Imagine hunting for a site you came across 6 months ago if you keep your bookmarks in your browser, you know that it was about colors, but you can’t remember whether you filed it under CSS, Palette’s, Color, or the one you’ve forgotten, tools. If you’re anything like me, you can end up spending ten minutes wading through the chaos you call your bookmarks and possibly not finding it anyway. This doesn’t happen with delicious. Go to CSS or go to color, even Tools – and voila there it is, under each tag.
This is why tags are so important.
The social aspect of social bookmarking allows you to share your bookmarks, and to view the pages that have been bookmarked by others under specific tags.
So let’s go back to the Web developer example; you can search tags for CSS and see what others are saying. It will show the pages that have most recently been tagged, but you can sort the information by popularity, meaning the number of people who have bookmarked that page.
While social sites such as digg, stumbleupon, and mixx allow for dialogue among members, delicious does not. Nor do you vote, review or comment on other people’s submissions. All you are doing is saving a site as a favorite.
However, delicious does have a “hotlist.” The hotlist can be found on the home page of delicious and it consists of the most recently bookmarked pages on the Web; pages that have been bookmarked by many individuals at that current point in time.
If you have a website or blog, you may find it interesting to go and search for your keywords – for instance tech talk radio – no spaces remember – and see if it has been bookmarked, and by how many.
So today’s lesson is, tying your bookmarks to only one computer is no longer the most efficient way to work, neither is hoarding them for yourself.
Put your favorites on the web, share them with friends and peers, and have access to your favorite pages anytime and anywhere, and don’t forget to go and check whether you’ve been delicioused.
If you have any questions, send me an e-mail – or just chat to me on Twitter – madlid.
This is Lidija Davis and you’re listening to TTR
Over and out!