Though the concept of social bookmarking is often credited as having originated back to the mid 1990s with the launch of itList.com, the term social bookmarking was coined in 2003 with the founding of Delicious. So what is social bookmarking? And what makes it such a popular social sharing option for bloggers?
Social bookmarking sites enable users to save and share bookmarks of web documents. Unlike file sharing tools, social bookmarking is not used to save the resources themselves – instead users reference those resources via a link. Essentially, instead of saving your bookmarked sites and resources to your browser ‘favourites’ or similar folders on your computer, you save those links online
Users save links to web pages they want to save for their own use, or share with others. Bookmarks are generally public, though they can be set to private or shared only with certain groups or networks, depending on the tool used.
Most social bookmarking tools encourage users to organise their bookmarks with tags, and as these services have evolved and grown in popularity, many have included additional features such as ratings, comments, import and export options, and the ability to share via social networks.
Wondering which key social bookmarking sites to check out? There are literally hundreds of social bookmarking websites scattered across the web. Some are well established and have only increased in popularity over time and as they have evolved, while others are smaller, suited more to niche markets, or short-lived.
Five of the most popular social bookmarking sites at present are:
- Delicious: Launched in 2003 as del.icio.us, and considered one of the most popular social bookmarking tools in the world. The site boasts over a billion links served daily to more than 200 countries worldwide.
- reddit: Founded in 2005, and became an open source project in 2008. Offers premium subscriptions, and specific categories or areas of interest are divided into subreddits.
- Blog Engage: Targeted specifically towards the blogging community. Users can sign in to submit their own links, browse and search the submitted posts of other blogs via category and keyword.
- Diigo: Launched in 2006, and also offers premium account options. As well as general social bookmarking functions, users can also add sticky notes and highlight specific parts of the web pages they bookmark.
- StumbleUpon: Founded in 2001, and now owned by eBay. Easy for users to submit pages for sharing – simply include the link, specify whether the content is safe for work and an interest category, and add optional tags and comments.
Social bookmarking can be a great way to keep your bookmarks organised – and it means you can access those bookmarks from any computer or device.
Not only can you save your favourite websites and share them with your networks, but social bookmarking sites also give you the opportunity to browse what other users have found interesting enough to tag. Most of these sites allow you to peruse bookmarked items based on popularity, those most recently added, or those tagged under a certain category such as shopping, business, tech, blogging, sports, fashion etc. Thanks to the ability to search by tags and keywords, many users are utilising social bookmarks as targeted, narrow focus search engines.
What’s more, social bookmarking sites can prove to be great tools for bloggers who want to drive more targeted traffic to their sites and build their audience. Because social bookmarking sites allow users to categorise their bookmarked content with tags or specific keywords, those bookmarks become easily searchable – and will attract an audience base already interested in your content.
Social bookmarking sites can also help in driving your posts to go viral, given these sites encourage users to actively rate, comment on and share content. You’ll get increased exposure, and a whole lot of links back to your content.
What social bookmarking tools do you use?