Personal blogging by Steph Gray, former digital agency founder and erstwhile bureaucrat

Why I love social bookmarking

Sadly, I missed Jenny Bee’s session titled ‘Why I love Twitter’ at the UKGovWeb Barcamp back in January, but if I were ever to run one, I’d have to call it ‘Why I love Social Bookmarking’.

Let me count the ways:

  1. It frees your favourites. I have a computer at home, and a computer at work. I find interesting websites using both machines. Previously, I had separate, messy bookmarks on each machine. Now, I have access to my favourites from wherever I am, using my toolbar buttons. (n.b. IT won’t let you install toolbar buttons at work? Set yourself up a bookmarklet instead)
  2. It lets you multicode, with tags. Previously, I had folders of favourites. A website was either ‘funnies’ OR it was ‘web design inspiration’. Now it can be both, and easily searchable.
  3. It lets you send interesting stuff to other people. Find something interesting, copy the URL, email it to your friend with a quick comment. So last century. Now, I just tag it as a social bookmark for:username and it will pop up in my friend’s list of bookmarks to review as and when they want, keeping their email inbox uncluttered. (In the real world, this only works with real social bookmarking geeks but I live in hope).
  4. It can generate the most relevant RSS feeds you’ll ever read. My latest approach to the challenge of tracking the comments I’ve left elsewhere, is to bookmark the comments section of those posts with a specific tag. I can then pipe the RSS for that tag into my blog sidebar to bring together all the blurb I’ve been saying, whether it’s on my blog or someone else’s. At work too, we’re using a similar technique to keep track of useful content on specific subjects and pipe this into Netvibes-based dashboards as a sort of ‘Editor’s Picks’ from the web.
  5. It generates content, all by itself. A list of links and short descriptions that you’ve compiled might be of interest to other people. NESTA’s research group use social bookmarking to collate and share links as a team, and then simply publish them as an email newsletter digest each fortnight. Or you can track interesting online debates and feature them on your site. Or you could just publish your interesting finds as a daily blog post (I pick up all kinds of interesting stuff from Dom that way)

And I don’t even use it the way it was intended to be used: to discover interesting things others have tagged in similar ways.

So, if you aren’t doing it already already, kick start your reflection of the web: start social bookmarking.

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9 comments on “Why I love social bookmarking

  1. Dave Briggs says:

    Great stuff, Steph! Will be pointing a lot of people in the direction of this post!

  2. […] Why I love social bookmarking at Helpful Technology Five good reasons to use social bookmarking (tags: bookmarking socialnetworks […]

  3. A neat summary. I am fairly new to using Delicious and this is exactly how I use it too.

    In addition:

    – I have subscribed to a few tags within delicious to see what others are bookmarking – say for government2.0 and socialmedia and webtools

    – I have added the RSS for those subscriptions to my google reader

    – To have a quick look at what others (Steph and Dave included) are bookmarking I follow their delicious postings using friendfeed, by adding the friendfeed RSS to my google reader

    I am not a fan of the daily blog posting from delicious though, for these reasons:

    1. The formatting of post titles is terrible. A headline in square brackets with a lower case letter at the start? Noooo thanks. Delicious makes your blog ugly, the title should be customisable.

    2. The frequency of postings. It’s daily or nothing. I don’t bookmark enough per day to warrant this high volume. And I don’t want it to swamp my blog either. A weekly or monthly option would be so much better.

    I have plumped for the sidebar widget instead, as I notice you have too. I agree that people like Dom use it well though. Actively bookmarking as a way of blogging.

  4. Not wishing to harp on, but just discovered Feedburner also offers a tool called Link Splicer. This lets you show your bookmarking activity in your feedburner feed/email alerts without posting them to your blog. Another interesting option.

  5. Steph says:

    Harp on, sir.

    Inspired by your comment, I logged into my FriendFeed for the first time in ages and found quite a bit of interesting stuff from my contacts I’d not come across before…

    And you’re right about the auto link posting thing: I don’t use it myself, for the same reason.

    This is making me think: one day, maybe the people employed to be ‘knowledge managers’ in big organisations might start to use these kinds of tools rather than the humungous, unusable, pointless document management systems they try to get people to use, in order to, um, share knowledge amongst their team?

  6. […] is primarily a tag. I’ve mentioned before why I think social bookmarking tools like Delicious are so useful. In this case, Delicious makes it possible to run a sort of collaborative database of URLs and […]

  7. […] 5. Start bookmarking and tagging. For a start, saving interesting sites you come across using a service like Delicious, Digg or Stumbleupon will help to find them easily again. But there are lots more reasons why it’s a good idea. […]

  8. […] Why I love social bookmarking – Five extremely good reasons to use services like Delicious in your business. I particularly endorse point 5: "It generates content, all by itself" […]