What are Social Bookmarking sites like del.icio.us and digg.com?

Question

What are the “Del.icio.us” and “Digg” links that I see on your and other websites for?

- Jennifer

Answer

This question was answered on July 12, 2007. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.

The Internet, often referred to as the “Information Superhighway” is bulging with information that grows exponentially every day.

How can anyone possibly digest all of this new information without feeling like they’re “drinking from a fire hose”?

We all know that there is lots of great stuff on the Internet, but how do you go about finding it?

A clever attempt to answer this question has come about from the advent of “social bookmarking and social popularity” networks such as Del.icio.us ( http://del.icio.us ) and Digg ( http://digg.com ).

There are three main attributes to these networks: Storing your favorites, submitting/voting on web sites and discovering new things through other’s picks.

Once you register for a free account on one of these networks, you can simply start clicking on these links anytime you find a story or a web page that you would like to save for the future or to tell others about.

The benefit of using these networks for your “Favorites” instead of your own computer is that you no longer have different lists of favorites on your various computers, you won’t ever lose your favorites if your computer crashes and you can find great new information from the submissions of others that have similar interests.

Depending upon the network, your “bookmarks” can be saved as public or private, so you are not required to share your favorites with others, but that is one of the best things about these networks.

In addition to creating “floating favorites” that you can access on any computer (not just the one that you originally saved it on), it allows you to have a “vote” on what you feel is useful content for others.

For instance, if you find one of my advice columns particularly helpful, you simply click on the link (for the network you chose to join) to save it in your favorites and tell others that you think the content is helpful.

This is a great way to reward the authors of free content sites that you find helpful, because it drives other users to the same information and helps that author’s website gain credibility with search engines.

These virtual “votes” can help improve search engine rankings for your favorite sites because these networks are considered very credible sources for determining relevant content.

Higher search engine rankings generate more visitors to that site and since user traffic is the currency of the Internet, you are repaying that site for their free content (you gotta love the Internet!)

Think of it as your way of helping to determine what is valuable on the Internet and taking advantage of what others have marked as useful content to find great new sites It’s the ultimate example of the Internet community sharing with one another.

The primary difference between Del.icio.us and Digg is that Del.icio.us is more of a true social bookmarking network while Digg is more of a community-based popularity site that uses elements of social bookmarking and blogging to voice opinions on submitted pages

If you are new to these concepts, I would recommend signing up for a Del.icio.us account as it tends to be more useful as a bookmarking resource and tends to be a little more new user friendly.

If you like to read news stories that tend not to be in the mainstream media or if you have a website and want to try to drive traffic to it, getting up to speed on how the Digg network operates could be very beneficial

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Author

Posted by Ken of Data Doctors on July 12, 2007