Social Bookmarking… explained elegantly

Today’s post is a guest post by Stephanie Michelle Scott, who is a Consultant at Wildfire Effect Consulting.

What do your books say about you?

Think back to the Old Stately Manors in our favorite old movies.  Kitchens had pantries and living rooms were divided into parlours and studies.    Can you picture the  rich dusty old books lining each wall? It was a privilege to be invited in.  To share in the hosts’ hand picked selections. The titles spoke to the hosts’ loves.   These collections characterized a person.  The well-read books with mangled spines spoke to their popularity.  I like to picture this old library when I think of the Internet’s equally elegant version: Social bookmarking.

OUR NEED FOR SOCIAL BOOKMARKS:
The internet has made virtually all subjects, news stories and viewpoints accessible, at the click of a  mouse.  With the addition of self-publishing options (blogs, video, audio and more) the richness of this universal library is infinite, SO infinite that one could spend everyday, every minute searching through a topic.

Social bookmarking sites allow us to efficiently target the online articles that offer the most value.   Much like those nostalgic stately libraries, Social bookmarking sites use the carefully chosen work of one person to navigate global resources effectively (and with less dust).  We know if an online article has been bookmarked at all, then someone thinks it is worthwhile.  Like the worn spines of old books, if we see an article bookmarked by many people we can infer that it is popular (http://popurls.com/)

HOW I BOOKMARK:
As a consumer of a lot of information (approximately 2 hours each day,)  I come across many articles that I find particularly useful. When one stands out and offers value,  I want to remember it for later.  I save its unique address (URL) on a social bookmarking site (my favorite is http://www.delicious.com/).  I do this for selfish reasons: I bookmark so that I can find the article easier at a later time.  I write a quick note to myself on why the article caught my attention and I file it with a subject tag that I can use to find it and all similar articles easily.  My filing system is personal to me.  My filing system says something about what I found important about the article.  If you were to tally all of the subject tags I use, you would  get a clear and quick indication of my interests.

HOW IT SAVES TIME:
Because the Internet assigns a unique identifier to each page on the Internet (a URL)  I can access these socially bookmarked articles through their URL for years.  Because it is the Internet,  I can offer the privilege of sharing by bookmarks with my friends in the same way that libraries of old were shared. In this age, I can share instantly with 1000s of “friends” over the world.  Better yet, all 1000 can read the article at the same moment from their own dusty homes. But, wait, it gets better… if all 1000 also bookmarked the same article, and each article is tallied when it is bookmarked on a global level, at a glance,  a new “friend” can assess which article is worth reading… and no book spine is damaged in the process.

THE POWER OF “SOCIAL”
Social bookmarking websites make it simple to save URLs, file them, note them and most importantly share them.  It is important to note:  You can limit sharing to the small groups you invite in, but what fun is that?  Just like old books, bookmarks should be shared. In this age of collaboration, publicly shared Social bookmarking sites offer a snapshot of not only information, but insight into the person that bookmarked it. Social bookmarking saves time, and connects people.  In the 21st century, sharing is powerful, and easy and elegant.  Loose yourself in someone’s library if you are not convinced.  I think I’ll share a snapshot of my favorites… What can you learn about me?

http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100213155843AAQgcFC

http://musingsaboutlibrarianship.blogspot.com/2010/08/12-library-videos-that-spoofs-movies-or.html

http://www.delicious.com/search?p=ghostbusters&chk=&fr=del_icio_us&lc=1&atags=&rtags=&context=all||

Happy searching.

Click here for a top-10 list of social bookmarking sites.

Stephanie Michelle Scott (Find her on twitter @widfirejane) is a social media consultant at The Wildfire Effect. She’ll be at the Robert Lee YMCA at 955 Burrard Street, Vancouver, BC on December 9th,  and if mention you saw this article, you’ll get a  FREE holiday treat.

UPDATE: December 16, 2010: Yahoo is phasing out Delicious.

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Rebecca Coleman

Social Media Marketing Strategist, Blogger, Author, Teacher, Trainer. Passionate foodie, mom to Michael, fueled by Americanos. I love my bike. Soon-to-be cookbook author. Localvore with a wanderlust.

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