With so much information available on the internet, it can be tough to filter what to pay attention to. A few months ago I started using the social bookmarking tool del.icio.us to help me track information about everything from online marketing and politics to comedy and business.
Del.icio.us does just what real life bookmarks do - hold your place so you can come back to information later. It has become my information repository for anything worth remembering: news articles, interesting blog posts, events, research, recipes, cool stores I want to check out, etc.
Here’s why I’m hooked and why you should consider it if you haven’t already found your bookmarking tool of choice (there are a lot out there). Have you tried it?
- It’s searchable: It’s been said “everything on del.icio.us is someone’s favorite.” Basically other people have already done some of the work for you so you can comb through the collective bookmarks by searching tags, the one-word descriptors that that people assign to their bookmarks (people can assign as many tags to a single bookmark as they want). A cool feature I haven’t tried is subscribing to certain del.icio.us tags to get all the sites tagged with particular keywords in your RSS reader of choice.
- It helps you stay organized: Just like you can search tags to find other people’s favorites, you can use these keyword tags and short descriptors to each article you bookmark to make it easier to find later. These descriptors can also help you remember why you bookmarked a link in the first place and highlight just the key section of the web page you were interested in.
- It’s portable: Because it’s a web-based service, you can access it from any computer on the Internet. This is super helpful when it’s 8:30pm and I’m still at the office with a bunch of Firefox tabs open with articles that I never got around to reading. In a matter of seconds I can just tag them all (i.e. bookmark them) and access them when I get home or the next day.
- It lets you think big: Find something you want to buy for yourself but can’t justify it right now? See a cool vacation spot you want to check out one day? Delicious is a great tool to keep these back burner ideas. Remember to group them into categories like “wishlist” or “vacation” to come back to them later when you’re actually planning. Also, you can apparently share certain items with specific people by using a “for:username” tag, something I haven’t yet tried.
- You can sync it up: Through linklog or linkrolls, you pull in your list of tagged sites, and even add a bit of commentary, to display as a blog posting or list on your website.
- It’s optionally social: Hence the name social bookmarking, you can make your links public to share with the rest of the delicious community and you have your own URL suffix to easily share with friends and family (though you don’t have to make your delicious list public). The social element enables you to see whether two people have chosen to add the link to delicious, or whether it was useful enough for a thousand people to tag, which can help validate your hunch that it’s worth reading. The only problem is that it’s sort of the window into one’s weird mind so remember this if you happen to save things like Chili’s musical chair commercial (I love this commercial!) Only one lucky person has access to mine.