So I have stumbled upon something quite wonderful on the web, my little hidden gem if you will, although it’s not that hidden anymore. A colleague of mine introduced me to del.icio.us a few months back, proclaiming his love of social bookmarking. To be honest I thought “cool, a place to store your bookmarks… what’s so special about this again?” Obviously, I had not witnessed del.icio.us in all of it’s wonder and glory.
For anyone unfamiliar with social bookmarking, it’s an online repository which allows users to store and tag their favorite links with content relevant keywords. Users are able to not only store their bookmarks online, but search for the favorite bookmark of others’ favorites based upon tags. In essence, it becomes a human search engine, capable of not only identifying keywords, but comprehending content. Now when I want to search for “CSS”, I can see what pages people consider important enough to tag.
As a designer, this has become a lifesaver! A society is only as good as its citizens, and lucky for me, the del.icio.us crowd are my kind of people. The del.icio.us/popular page has become a main staple in my daily online consumption. I’m embarrassed to admit, my neatly organized bookmark collection has risen to over 300 sites in just a few months. It’s become my search tool of choice. Not only do I love it, but my mom has begun checking my del.icio.us account, sending me regular emails with feedback on different site’s that I have tagged. “Nettie I liked that flash animation, but what’s with you tagging Treehugger.com? Has my daughter become a treehugger?”
Will social bookmarking replace search engines? No way. Is it worth watching on the radar? Absolutely. Social bookmarking provides a glimpse into the surfing habits of its users. It provides instant access to the immediate trends of the web, and becomes an incredible marketing research tool. Give it a try.