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Social Bookmarking

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Social bookmarking is a relatively new (yet very simple) web technology that allows internet users to bookmark their favourite sites online. You may have heard key terms being thrown around forums such as social bookmarking, social media or Web 2.0. To understand what this means, let’s simplify the term: social bookmarking.

Bookmarking should be familiar to most internet or computer users. With most popular browser, you have the option to bookmark or ‘Favorite’ sites that you want to revisit at a later date. In Internet Explorer this is called ‘adding to Favorites’ and in Firefox this is called ‘bookmarking’. If you have ever used this technique for saving your favourite websites then you’ve already bookmarked!

There are a few differences between bookmarking with your browsers ‘Favorites’ list and bookmarking with a social bookmarking site. When you bookmark with your browser, the browser saves your favourites to your computer’s hard drive and you access your favourites list with a dropdown menu at the top of the browser. Think of this as ‘local bookmarking’. When you bookmark on a social bookmarking site, your bookmarks are saved right on the Web 2.0 website and you access them by logging in to that site with your account. This allows you to view, use and add to your favourites from any computer as long as you have an internet connection.

Here’s where ‘social bookmarking’ differs from ‘local bookmarking’. When you save your favourites to a social bookmarking site, you are asked to give your bookmark a title and a tag(s). Tags are words that you would use to describe the site you are adding to your bookmarks. For example, if you bookmarked this article, you might give it the title ‘Social Bookmarking Lesson’ and the tag(s) you might associate with it could be ‘what is social bookmarking’ and ‘social bookmarking article’ or something of the like. These tags are used for the social bookmarking site’s search field. When someone searches for ‘social bookmarking lessons’ your bookmark will show up in the search results. The idea is that if people, instead of automated search engines (which can be manipulated), take the time to bookmark a site then it must be useful or have some value. Over time, if the site does indeed have value, more and more people will bookmark it. Every time someone bookmarks a site they are giving it what is called a ‘vote’. The more people who bookmark the site, the more votes the site gets and consequently the higher it will rank in the search. So, if enough people searched for ‘social bookmarking article’ and saw your bookmark (to this article), read the article, and subsequently bookmarked the article as well, then this article could soon be #1 in the bookmarking site whenever a user searched for ‘social bookmarking article’.

The idea of Social Bookmarking is to have a large database of website links or bookmarks that users can search and receive results that have value. Theoretically, the results of any search on a bookmarking site would contain absolutely no sites that waste time or have pop-ups, spam, unrelated content or worse. Unfortunately, with the sudden influx of internet marketing and SEO, social bookmarking sites are now being inundated with bookmarks created not because the site has ‘value’ but simply for website promotion. to make matters worse, companies across the globe are labelling their site or service “Web 2.0” when they are simple regurgitations of former Web 1.0 applications. The future of Social Bookmarking is uncertain, but there is no question that ideology behind it is solid and that web users will continue to search for ways of finding efficient valuable content on the internet.

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