January 24, 2005

Social Networks and Bookmarking

In recent months, more and more attention has been paid to a new online fusion of web browser bookmarking and social networking. Websites like del.icio.us and furl.net allow users to store bookmarks in an online account that makes them accessible to the user from any computer and any browser. Each book mark can be classified and annotated or “tagged” by the user adding it to their list. Social bookmarking tools also allow other users to see what you have bookmarked and how you have classified it. Fans can even set up an RSS feed of your del.icio.us or furl list in its entirety or by tag category and have themselves notified every time you add a new link.

Technorati has expanded on social bookmarking of websites by allowing and encouraging users to “tag” blog postings based on the category function built into many blogging tools that allow blog authors to organize and thematize each post. Together with these new tags, and tags created by users at del.icio.us and furl.net as well as tagged photos posted at flikr.com, technorati now aggregates all tags into a page that expresses the frequency of use of each tag by increasing or decreasing the size of the font of the tag word. The site also allows users to search for certain tags.

All of these new social bookmarking tools are based on the same premise as social networking tools—why not have people you know, like or find interesting help you find what you’re looking for? Tools like these give us a sense of what the “buzz” is on the web, at least among a certain subset of internet users.