It’s an all too familiar scene; you’re on the crowded train home, unable to move, with the daily paper scrunched in your hand while everyone around you is busy scrolling through the top stories on Digg. They’ve got one up on you, but you can’t figure out why. Is it because while you are desperately shuffling through your jumbled newspaper pages, annoying everyone around you, they are reading all the most up-to-date news, neatly gathered in one place? The answer, put simply, is yes.
Social bookmarking is not just a handy way to stay on top of current news and pop culture, it’s also a godsend for businesses looking to stay in the know, track projects and share ideas. So what is it, why do you need it and which site is best for you?
What is social bookmarking, anyway?
Social bookmarking is an online service which allows you to save, annotate, share and organise links to your favourite articles, sites and resources. Which site you use will depend on how much you’ll be able to do with your links; some allow you to add descriptions (to help guide those sharing with you) and some even have their own phone apps.
Delicious is one of the original social bookmarking sites and a firm favourite among veterans of the movement. This site helped cultivate some of the more popular social bookmarking terms which have been adopted by other sites. It gives users the ability to save links via phone or tablet, as well as tag links, search and share them.
Digg is a social bookmarking tool which has spread itself out to the extreme. Available on Twitter, Facebook, mobile phone, tablet and Google+, you really can ‘Digg everywhere’. They cluster together all the top stories for general public interest and also include popular stories front and center for easy reach.
Reddit is another social bookmarking site that organises the more popular stories for easy browsing, but features a wider range of categories than its pal, Digg. You’re given the choice to search through ‘controversial’, ‘wiki’, ‘rising’ and ‘hot’ stories among others, and a handy search bar lets you find anything you might need quickly. It has a more basic layout than its contemporaries but is equally charming.
Google Bookmarks is the social bookmarking attempt made by Google to help frequent users organise the titbits they’re searching and finding. You’ll be able to add things in your browser easily and drag them up when you need them. It’s not as fancy or accessible as the others, but is an excellent start for social bookmarking beginners.
Why do I need it?
Social bookmarking for business is not unheard of and is a tool which can help you stay organised while helping you look like the enlightened industry expert you know you are. Here are five very good reasons to give social bookmarking a try:
1. The first reason you should consider social bookmarking is that your saved links can be accessed from anywhere, all you need is an internet connection and you’re in. Although saving bookmarks on your browser is indeed tempting, these can only be reached from your own home PC and only on the browser you have saved them in (not including Google Chrome, that is). This can be a little limiting, especially when you need to find a specific article quickly.
2. Make yourself look like a big time pro all the time. Having up-to-date, insider knowledge about your industry is essential for making smart, informed business and marketing decisions. Keeping all your content topical and on trend is essential for rewarding engagement with your customers and shows clients that you know your stuff. It makes being a smarty-pants, incredibly easy indeed.
3. Give potential customers confidence in your brand by using social bookmarking to group together all your customer testimonials. Let your work speak for itself on a platform which shows everything in an easy, straight forward format.
4. If you’re a freelancer or part of a creative team, having all your most inspirational sites, pictures, articles and graphics in an ordered, sharable format is one of the greatest gifts to the internet. Make sure everyone on your team is on the same page (pun intended) as you by easily sharing tagged links, or save all your inspirations for a day when the creative well is running a little dry.
5. When you’ve just launched an exciting new promotion or project, keeping tabs on it with social bookmarking is a great idea. You’ll be able to see how well your project is doing and how much buzz is being created around it.
Being the last to know won’t ever be a problem again- social bookmarking will ensure that everyone in your team or working on your project has access to the sites and resources they need, that all your inspirational finds are organised and that there isn’t a funny cat-related video being uploaded that escapes your attention. Brilliant.