Social bookmarking has been around for a few years now. I am guilty of simply saying bookmark it or share it – without thinking that some people haven’t been online for quite as long as I have and really don’t have a clue what I am talking about.
I didn’t realise how often I said it until a conversation earlier this week where I was met with a look that indicated I had two heads and the question (toned down for politeness!) “You keep saying that. What is social bookmarking?”
… I’m sorry for not realising that social bookmarking falls into the realm of techno-babble for many people.
This post aims to remedy that fault and I promise to stop assuming you know what I am talking about!
What Is Social Bookmarking?
Well, Wikipedia says…
Social bookmarking is a method for Internet users to organize, store, manage and search for bookmarks of resources online.
That’s it in a nutshell.
Rather than storing your favourite web pages on your browser (FireFox, Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari etc.) you store them on a social bookmarking platform online. This way, your bookmarked web pages can be viewed by other internet users.
Way back in the late 90′s, social bookmarking was at the forefront of sharing information online – there was no Twitter and Facebook then! You could say that alongside forums, these bookmarking sites were the beginning of the social web as we know it today.
Over the years the bookmarking sites have evolved and there are hundreds, if not thousands of bookmarking platforms that allow you to store your favourite pages, and rate or comment on other peoples links too. They are effectively mini online communities.
As the social web has grown, you can also share your information on the more familiar social networking sites too.
Why Bother With Social Bookmarking And Sharing?
It’s all about online visibility.
Social bookmarking not only puts your website in front of others who may not have discovered it but, in many cases those links count as a small vote in popularity when it comes to ranking your web page.
The effect can be even more powerful on the large social network sites.
Even if you prefer to stay away from social networking sites (and I can totally understand that!) other people seem to enjoy it. They share information publicly online all the time.
As a bare minimum, your website should make it simple for people to talk about your business online. Give people something to talk about and the ability to share it easily. Include popular sharing buttons – Facebook, Twitter, G+, Digg, Delicious, StumbleUpon and others.
The picture is bigger than people talking about your business. Google particularly is starting to take into account the social web when it ranks web pages. Even more so with personalised search results. Take a look next time you’re logged into Google, watch out for the “friend shared this” comment under a search result.
That comment is powerful in itself but, do the same search not logged in…
Not only will you not see the comment, but the page itself is likely to have sunk back into the depths of search obscurity.
Social Bookmarking and Social Sharing Are Not Fads
Social is not going away. It will continue to evolve. Just like social bookmarking has done over the last ten or so years – some social sites may fall by the wayside and others will spring up in their place. It will be the same for the larger networking sites too.
The names of the social sites may change, the buttons we click may change but the people powered worldwide web will only get stronger.
In fact, just as I was writing this post, Google sent out an invitation to social sites to integrate with Google Analytics.
“To enable our customers to discover who’s sharing, voting and bookmarking their content on the social web, cross-network measurement needs to become easier. So today we’re inviting social networks and platforms to integrate their activity streams with Google Analytics.”
“A number of partners are already working with us to improve measurement of social actions – including Delicious, Digg, Diigo, Gigya, LiveFyre, ReadItLater, Reddit, TypePad, Vkontakte, and of course, Google+, Blogger and Google Groups.”
Call me cynical, but Google do not collect data for fun or the benefit of others…
It’s a matter of time before kinks are ironed out and social markers from participating sites are integrated into search results somehow.
So what are you waiting for?
Each time you post to your blog or add a new section to your website, bookmark and share it and encourage others to do the same.
You know what to do now? Click one of the buttons below and share this post!
Image credit – Spekulator