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How I explain social bookmarking

August 1, 2008

At our agency, people ask what  Social Bookmarking. This is how I describe it:

When we saw a web site that we liked, we added it to our bookmarks or favorites. The problem is, those sites are chained to the machine they were saved on. If someone sees a website they like at work, and then wants to look at it at home, the only option is to e-mail home a link.

The web 2.0 way is to use virtual bookmarks. Think yahoo mail or Google mail (or the original hotmail). These days, all e-mail is portable, it’s not tied to the computer, and can be accessed anywhere.

The first virtual bookmarking service I used was Delicious. The first page I saved was on October 20, 2002. I began using Delicious for the reason stated above: when I saw something, I wanted to be able to access it anywhere. Ie, if I saw something at home, I wanted to be able to look at it at work. Without e-mailing myself (which is always an odd thing. Do you sign e-mails to yourself?)

On a wholly separate note, people looked at the act of e-mailing articles. My gut says these people had hundreds of e-mails and thought that the one from their mom about an article in the NY Times didn’t need to be an e-mail with a little message saying, “you should really see how successful this guy you went to high school really is”.

So, they invented link sharing services like StubleUpon, Digg, Reddit. These places are equally good at storing bookmarks and favorites since they also store bookmarks and favorites.

Then, as the social web began catching people’s attention, people wondered if sharing bookmarks didn’t say something about the person. Wouldn’t you love to see Bill Gates’ Delicious links? Or what about the owner of your agency’s Digg page?

Thanks to these tools, people are given the option of making links public or private. And if they make them public, we can all see them. And you can get a handle on their online social identity. That’s a powerful thing.

That’s how I describe social bookmarking. Not sure if it happened like that, but I like to think it did. If you like this, feel free to add it to your social bookmarking tool.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. August 2, 2008 3:00 am

    I have a difficult time explaining social bookmarking to some of my family members. My mother, barely knows how to add a bookmark to her Web browser. 🙂 But as social bookmarking becomes more main stream, it is reaching people who otherwise would never have known about it.

    My favorite part of social bookmarking is being able to share, which in my opinion bypasses the search engines to get directly to quality sites. Quality sites as voted by users.

  2. August 4, 2008 9:07 am

    The social aspects are both the best parts of social bookmarking, and the hardest to explain.

  3. November 22, 2010 6:50 pm

    So helpful. I literally had no idea what these were before I read the article. I heard of them but wasnt sure the purpose of them . Good article. Thanks for the info

    For the best cat training tips, videos, products and more go to Stop Cat Biting


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