Why I recommend del.icio.us

March 2, 2006 by Jared Goralnick

I’d been slow to adopt del.icio.us, a free social bookmarking site that’s been popular for a couple years now. If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, here’s more information on what del.icio.us is. Here’s why I told myself I didn’t need del.icio.us (I disagree now):

  1. I have no needs for bookmarking beyond what’s provided by the web browser (addressed in recommendation 3 below)
  2. Why would I want to share my links with others? (addressed in recommendations 5 & 6)
  3. I have too much stuff to keep track of already, especially online (addressed in recommendation 7)

What I didn’t realize is that del.icio.us makes browsing more efficient and research more productive. Can it be distracting to find more things to click on? Sure, but the results are often better than just searching google.

Here’s why I recommend del.icio.us:

  1. Browser bookmarks aren’t very powerful or friendly. Browser bookmarks can be placed in folders but are otherwise difficult to reference or search later. As a consequence, most people either don’t use most of their bookmarks effectively or they have an overwhelming list of bookmarks that’s time-consuming to manage.
  2. del.icio.us bookmarks are descriptive. When you bookmark on del.icio.us you are encouraged to provide a title, description and tags for it. Maybe it’s just the size of the window that encourages people to add more information then they would with a traditional bookmark, but people tend to be more descriptive. Even if you just use a tag while keeping the page’s original title or two you’ve already got searchable, categorized bookmarks.
  3. del.icio.us is for referencing everything, browser bookmarks are for fast access to daily/weekly sites. Browser bookmarks are great for stuff you visit regularly, whereas del.icio.us is ideal for referencing material you may refer to later. del.icio.us serves as a repository for information to refer back to rather than a quick place to use for access to frequently-browsed sites. This may not sound like much of a “why,” but I’ll explain here in number 4:

And now for the really useful stuff…

  1. del.icio.us is searchable and organized. You can quickly find a link by clicking on the tags you used, or searching within the text you typed for its title or description.
  2. Placing the bookmark in context. When researching a current topic where you’ve bookmarked a helpful page, chances are that someone else has bookmarked it. With del.icio.us you can see who else has bookmarked it and then search their bookmarks. Often you’ll find repositories of carefully chosen sites that relate to the topic of which you’re most interested.
  3. del.icio.us lists can be shared. If you have a website or simply want to share your favorite lists, you can easily publish your del.icio.us lists
  4. del.icio.us takes no more work than just using the built-in browser bookmarks. If you’re not familiar with del.icio.us, you’re probably wondering how this works. It’s no more difficult than bookmarking in the browser. I just click on a button that del.icio.us installed and it asks me for information about my bookmarks. Similarly there’s another button for visiting my own bookmarks.

Let me also point out that there are similar sites with variations on del.icio.us’ approach, such as ma.gnolia, and tools that may accomplish similar objectives in the end, such as Newsvine…but del.icio.us is simple and has already acquired the critical mass necessary to truly be effective. Why not give it a shot?

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