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One Year Anniversary Review: Social Bookmarking Boom

If you don’t know what social bookmarking or “Web 2.0″ is, you’ve missed the current web fad boat.

In a nutshell, social bookmarking is the process of letting the online social network of users judge online content as worthy.

If you are prowling the web and find an interesting article or post, you can “submit” it to , , , , , or other bookmarking services so others will see that you recommend the article. If they like it, they will “digg” or bookmark it themselves, adding a point to your score. The more points, the higher the post will rise in the “what’s popular” ranking, increasing its visibility. Others see it rising through the ranks, take a look, decide they like it, and keep pushing it up the charts. This drives traffic to the site, and if the post is really popular, overwhelms the site’s server. The price for popularity.

Some call it part of the “Web 2.0″, the next generation of online communication and interaction, but I call it the building of the future social web.

As with all such socially driven popularity contests, fame may be fleeting. Some bloggers work hard to drive their blogs up the social networking popularity ladder, coming up with clever titles and gimmicks to get people to bookmark their posts, thus increasing traffic. The downside is that unless incoming traffic finds something worthwhile to return to, they won’t come back. It’s a one day wonder, flash in the pan.

Getting tons of traffic and comments on your site is addictive. So is the interaction with social bookmarking sites as you watch posts climb up the ranks and fall – as addictive as day trading on the stock market.

Others bookmark everything of interest to them, as if bookmarking alone is a contest. How many did you bookmark today?

These bookmarked posts are saved to the social bookmarking service under your account name, so you can “make note” of posts and articles of interest to you so you may revisit them later, or just recommend them to others. Tired of them or made use of their content, then remove them from your list, and they lose a point in their score.

In addition to the social popularity contest of bookmarking services, it does help to keep track of interesting posts as you trek around the Internet so you can revisit them. Instead of saving all these web pages to your hard drive, or adding their URL/addresses to your bookmarks or favorites, which may become lost if your hard drive crashes, you can store them offsite on a social bookmarking service.

and are also social bookmarking services, but they go a little farther by allowing you to store your bookmarked web pages, not just the address. If a page goes offline, you still have a saved copy for future reference, giving even more added value to the web pages you save.

Many social bookmarking services work interactively with each other, allowing you to save a bookmark in their service, and have it simultaneously be saved to your accounts on other social bookmarking services.

Some social bookmarking services feature installable toolbars to help you find interesting content and bookmark a web page you are viewing faster. There are also javascript bookmarklets which you can click and drag to your browser’s bookmarks panel or toolbar for one click submission to the social bookmarking service of your choice.

Currently, almost all social bookmarking services are free. They feature ads on their sites and some are starting to offer member services to get you to pay to get more features. Rumors are that some social bookmarking services are starting to charge for “top of the rank” placement in a “featured” location. It will be interesting to see how these services evolve and change.

Row of Submit to Social Bookmarking Services LinksBlogging with social bookmarking in mind, it’s very popular nowadays for bloggers to include a row of linked icons or text to these social bookmarking services to encourage you to submit their site, thus gain more traffic by your recommendation.

Personally, I tend to think that rows and rows of social bookmarking submit links tend to be clutter. After all, if you have a favorite bookmarking service, wouldn’t you already have their toolbar or bookmarklet installed for fast adding of the web page you are visiting to your list? Wouldn’t you use that instead of a link I supply on my site? I’m still thinking about this, and will report on it more, but in the mean time, think about how you use your social bookmarking service and if the links on blogs really help you or not. Then think about how you use them on your own blog.

Social Bookmarking Recommendations: Chatting or Bashing?

There are a lot of pros and cons to the concept of social bookmarking. It is a great way of finding wonderful information, but the masses aren’t consistently very picky about what they recommend, so there is often a lot of pop clutter and yakity yak.

On social bookmarking sites where they allow users to comment on the site recommendations, like Digg, many tend to make quick assumptions and judgments, and are not always kind. Some are illiterate and savage, but others are intelligent and gentle in their recommendations, opinions, and attitudes about submitted articles. Sometimes, the comments are even more interesting than the recommended article, and other times, it’s a war zone as people argue over issues related or not to the original recommended article. It’s a wide open play field.

Some social bookmarking services allow submissions to be categorized, so you can quickly seek out only posts related to specific topics. Others are a bit of free for all. Some are very exclusive and only permit specific types and categories of posts. There are now over 100 different social bookmarking services out there on myriad topics in dozens of languages. Not everyone uses only one service either, so test drive the various options to find the one you enjoy using the most.

Last year was declared by many to be the “Year of the Tag”, and I think that this year should be declared the “Year of Social Bookmarking”. The growth in social bookmarking services has grown incredibly and continues to skyrocket. Everyone has an opinion and everyone wants others to know it. This is another way the network of online users has a say in what information should be of interest to others. Flaws and all.

Does social bookmarking work? I think it is too early to see if this will work over the long run, but it certainly opens up networking and communications around the globe, with everyone having an opinion that hopefully counts. I also see it creating online communities, where people from all over the world find commonality through site recommendations and comments. It’s helping build the social web of the future.

This past year, I’ve mostly talked about the technical side of social bookmarking, helping you learn how to put social bookmarking links on your WordPress and WordPress.com blogs. I’ve brought to your attention some interesting news and tools available to help you use your social bookmarking services, and discussed the impact of getting to the top of the “most popular” list on your blog. I see a lot more topics to cover on social bookmarking in the next year, so stay tuned as this new technology shifts and grows.

Articles about Social Bookmarking and Bookmarks


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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen, member of the 9Rules Network Feed on Lorelle on WordPress Subscribe

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5 Comments

  1. Posted August 27, 2006 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    Wonderful article Lorelle!

    We always come back to the Janus faces of the web, whether it’s 1.0 or 2.0. On the bright side, we have access to lots of valuable information and decent people, on the dark we have the problem of filtering out relevancy and decency.

    I love the web, and to a great part live on and by it. I find interesting stuff and interesting people to communicate and cooperate with.

    Social networking was always an important aspect of the Net, and by inventions such as syndicated book marking, we may get to know others who share our interests. At the same time, in the best of worlds, we get more relevant information on these areas of interest. Good thing!

    Tagging and tag clouds are supposed to conglomerate the essence of information in a certain domain. But does it work that way?

    In my experience, a clever search on Google gives more substantial results, as I find others, who already gathered relevant information in a certain area on their site. Search services rank web pages from how many ( good sites ) link to them, which gives a certain amount of relevancy. Tag clouds on the other hand, tends to emphasize ( by colors or size ) what is most popular to read, or worse, how many writers use that tag. In a way the tag only measures its own popularity.

    Then we have the ancient ( measured AD* ) problem of the overwhelming amount of information.

    In the beginning there were link lists with hundreds of links with no comments, impossible to handle. Now we have lists or clouds of tags, equally cloudy, and they tend to grow beyond comprehension too. Social bookmarking, as fine as the intentions are, may climb the same Sisyphusian mountain.

    Communities of millions of people will always be hard to manage and to join in a meaningful way, but nevertheless we all have to find ways to get information and meet people. It is a challenge and a joy.

    *) AD – Time After DARPA ;)

  2. Posted August 27, 2006 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    I am a big fan of social bookmarking myself and I use it everyday. I really like being able to keep my bookmarks in one location, accessible from any computer. Its a great idea and thinking about it now, I wonder why it took so long for something like this to come about.

  3. Posted August 30, 2006 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    Lorelle – what a great collection of Articles on Social bookmarking and bookmarks. Did you bookmark all those? Any easy way to add those to your blog would be to bookmark with wink and create a collection of bookmarks that you can easy export with a blogmarklet. Another cool resource is onlywire – they aggregate all your social bookmarking accounts and submit your tags to multiple sites simultaneously. Great article. b

  4. Posted August 30, 2006 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    Did I bookmark them? I wrote them. I know how to save things as bookmarks, I just haven’t found a bookmarking service that sings to me. I also haven’t found justification to bookmarking the things I’ve written. Especially after getting slapped more than a few times for doing so.

    That’s the sad part of bookmarking. If you are using social bookmarking networks that have “popularity contests” and you bookmark articles you wrote, people find out and start accusing you of cheating, forcing your work upon others, and other nasty things. Before WordPress.com had export/backup capabilities, I started adding my articles to Furl, which also added them to del.icio.us and other social bookmarking services automatically, and got flamed repeatedly for promoting my own work instead of the work of others. HUH?

    The social part of social bookmarking can be painful when narrow minds gather.

  5. Dave Batterson
    Posted November 12, 2009 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    Its amazing to me how many social bm sites there are. How could you possibly join and remain active on all of them? Personally my fav is stumbleupon and digg. Some of the rest are just too painful. Great post Lorelle!


3 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Social Bookmarking Boom

    A great explanation of what this Web 2.0 Social Bookmark Flag On The Moon business is all about.

  2. [...] As I review this past year’s worth of articles I’ve written, I find that two topics were probably the most life changing for me and many other bloggers: social bookmarking and feeds. [...]

  3. […] One Year Anniversary Review: Social Bookmarking Boom […]

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