In a nutshell, social bookmarking makes it easy for Internet users to share online content. On social bookmarking sites, users submit links to sites or stories that they find useful and interesting. Other users on these sites can then access these lists and follow the links through to the original content. Basically, the name social bookmarking says is all – a bookmark that other Internet users can then use and share as a reference.
On many of these bookmarking sites, each user can then create his or her own page about their favourite sites and stories– a virtual library of sorts. The links are then organised into categories making it as easy as possible for users to find content relevant to their specific interests. One significant benefit of social bookmarking sites is that while newspapers and other official press sources have to churn out content to stay in business, users only submit stories that they find interesting.
For a content provider it's a pretty simple process to ensure that your stories stand a good chance of being included in these sites. You need to enable them with 'social bookmarking chicklets' - little icons that, upon clicking, automatically submit your story (or a vote for your story) to the bookmarking site being used. So when a user finishes reading your story he doesn't have to go into the Digg site and submit your story manually – rather a simple click on the Digg icon in the footer of your story will do the trick. This convenience plays a massive role in getting users to actively distribute your content.
For the purpose of this chapter we will consider blog aggregators such as Technorati or Amatomu as social bookmarking tools. Social aggregating looks to make it even easier for users to receive relevant content and this is especially important when it comes to the blogosphere. With millions of new posts each week it is too hard to keep up to date with everything you want and/or need to know. Blog aggregators are making our lives a whole lot easier by aggregating the content for us.
Take the South African blog aggregator Amatomu as an example – instead of scrolling through the thousands of stories on the site a visitor typically only looks at the latest posts, the “on fire” posts or else clicks through to the top blogs as per Amatomu's various charts. A “top searches” list is also displayed to show users what others are looking for and what the most topical subjects are. Many of the social bookmarking sites now incorporate aggregating as a feature with Digg and Muti scores being powerful indicators of a story's worth.
The Up’s and Down’s of Social Bookmarking
- Social bookmarking allows like-minded people to share interesting and relevant content with one another in an easy to use manner.
- Social bookmarking sites are an excellent tool for members of a company or organisation – gone are the days where we needed to send loads of emails to keep colleagues in the loop (thank goodness for that).
- Social bookmarking is saving us a lot of time and energy that we’d usually spend scanning our RSS feeds or (the shock and horror of it all) actually visiting sites daily to find out what’s hot in the industry we work in along with our other interests.
- Social bookmarking makes it easy for your readers to share content. This way content comes from a trusted source, “a person like me”, and can go a long way to increasing your readership.
- As more and more Internet users begin using social bookmarking sites, the better and more holistic the quality of content will become.
Social bookmarking sites are susceptible to corruption as some marketers and publishers have begun to consider them as an aid to SEO efforts, as the more times a page of content is submitted to the site the more likely it is to get noticed by the readers. Many of the sites are putting preventative steps in place to combat spammy submissions like this in order to prevent the manipulation of content for marketers or publishers’ needs.
Social bookmarking sites are an excellent way to get your content out there but it’s got to happen organically – don’t try and orchestrate the process yourself.
There are so many of these sites that you'd probably be reading this for weeks if we tried to review them all, so instead we'll look at an overview of the five most popular, which includes a look at the top aggregating service, Technorati.1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | Next
Other Articles in the How To... Social Media Series :
- Part 1: Social Media - The down low
- Part 2: Social Networking - You can never have too many friends
- Part 3: Social Bookmarking and Aggregating - Avoiding overload
- Part 4: Content Sharing - So hot right now
- Part 5: Blogging - Starting a blog baby, starting a blog