Social bookmarking is fast becoming the next best thing for webmasters and web users around the globe. So, what are social bookmarking sites and where did they originate from?
Social bookmarking is an online method of storing, organizing, sharing and searching bookmarks of selected web pages. A bookmarking site allows members to save links they have an interest in, as well as sharing them with others web users. These links are generally viewed;
• In chronological order
• In order of popularity
• By selecting a specific tag
To look at the history of social bookmarking we have to go back to 1996 with the launch of the website itLists.com, this was the first site to utilise the concept of shared bookmarks. A few years later this idea was followed by companies such as Backflip, Blink, Clip2, Hotlinks and Quiver. These companies however failed to make an impact on the market due to the dot com crash of 2001. We then had to wait until 2003 when del.icio.us launched its own tag related social bookmarking site. In a short space of time del.icio.us expanded very quickly, this led to other companies following their lead. In the next few years websites such as Simpy, Furl, Stumbleupon, Netvouz, Diigo, Digg, reddit, Newsvine joined the fray and expanded on the priciples of social bookmarking.
Social bookmark sites encourage their members to organize their own bookmarks using specific tags. Some sites vary slightly by implementing a combination of folders and tags. The methods used to organize bookmarks vary slightly but the general principles remain the same.
Many social bookmarking websites provide an RSS feed. This enables members to receive information on new bookmarks as they are saved, shared, and tagged by others. Another common feature is to allow members to rate and comment on bookmarks, this has become very popular with web users worldwide. Receiving information via a live feed is a very good method of carrying out research or simply reading the research of others.
Rather than slowing down, social bookmarking is growing at a phenomenal pace, this is due to web users realising they can gather information on specific or niche topics from a single source. As we move towards full web 2.0 compliance, it is of no surprise that social bookmarking sites are giving us a glimpse of how the World Wide Web will be structured in the future. Bookmarking sites have certainly brought a degree of order to the Internet, in the past this has always been a problem area for web users, as they generally have to visit many sites to gather information on a single subject.
The main downside to social bookmarking is in the fact webmasters quickly realised these sites are a great medium for search engine optimisation, this has led to bookmarking sites being hit hard by spammers. I believe this will be short lived as many sites are starting to incorporate the ‘no-follow’ attribute.
My personal feelings are we have only seen the tip of the iceberg in regard to social bookmarking, in the future I believe these type of websites will be fully integrated into our online way of life.