In the beginning there was digg. To get a story promoted on digg.com was to see your web traffic skyrocket. Community curated content. And now after several sales and rebirth efforts, I'm sad to declare that, for me, digg is done. Here's my experience to-date.
Now, to be fair, I never really pushed hard to promote or WIN on Digg. But it was a necessary part of my daily content submission, up until today, when I removed the digg sharing button from my site. In 2013 I have seen ZERO referrals from digg. None. Nada. Zip. And I post approximately 5 – 6 articles a week. By contrast, during 2013, a newish service that provides a similar social media sharing platform, StumbleUpon has delivered 208 referrals. Reddit clocked in at 194. Digg is dead to me.
At the moment there is still talk about diggs Google Reader replacement service, or the digg app, but I'm not sure anything is going to rebuild the giant of social sharing back to any significant numbers. Why would you try to rebuild a brand like digg at this point rather than just build a new service with a new name?
Sorry to see you go, digg, but happy to simplify my socialization process with one less step.
All the new rage, this #hashtag stuff now on Facebook. But "tagging" has been around for a long time. We used to call it Social Bookmarking, and there were several big players. Today Delicious is one of the few remaining services, along with Google Bookmarks.
Tagging your own links provides one of the best ways I know of creating organized structures for disorganized content. Or putting a framework and recall system around all of your links. Long gone are the days where "bookmark this page" is enough. And while #hashtags are also, important for recall and discovery, your own private tagging system might be even more important, in the long run. And learning to use and research on delicious is part of my critical path to social media execution.
+++ this post has been refreshed from 2011, enjoy your Summer +++
If you don't use delicious.com perhaps now is the time to get started. Owned by Yahoo, delicious is the best way I know of to leave a bread crumb of your research for others to follow. It's also a killer crowd-sourced index of the web on any topic you can type it. Individuals have tagged and commented on these links on a subject that you are interested in. Hand-curated links. Good stuff comes to the top quickly on Delicious.
Here's why Delicious is so critical to your social media success.
Refinding that crucial information is as important as discovering it the first time.
Sharing your links with others is better than a single Tweet or LIKE of the information.
Social bookmarking builds a crowd-sourced index on any topic you are interested in, it's like a curated index of the web
Organizing your mind on the web will change your experience
Sure you can always Google it again, but how much time did it take you to find that specific comment last time, tag it and forget it and it's always there when you need it, or when you need to share it.
I have screen-grabbed a few searches I did this morning on delicious. The first one is for "healthcare" and you can see the most popular terms on the left upper corner and the overall "bookmarked" volume on the right. You can see things have been spiking in 09 on this topic. Easy to imagine why.
delicious tag search: healthcare
The second term I delicious-ed. (As opposed to Googled.) Was "pharma."
delicious search: pharma
In this example I have excluded my own delicious bookmarks. Notice the Google-placed adds on the right hand side. So Google is getting some love on this process too.
A couple other interesting ways to explore content on delicious is to use their trending tabs. Here is the "Fresh Bookmarks" tab:
delicious tabs: fresh bookmarks
And the "popular bookmarks" tab:
delicious tabs: popular bookmarks
And the "explore tags" tabs:
delicious tabs: explore tags
Start tagging your web experience with Delicious. Or perhaps you want to look at SPARKS on the new Google+. Either way you need to find and refind information on the web. Do it in a way that provides more social connections for all of us.
Pinterest is not new. It was started in March, 2010. By the end of 2011 and the beginning of 2012 the rise and dominance of Pinterest seems to be common knowledge. IF you believe all you read, you might think that Pinterest is the greatest thing since Facebook. It's not. It's good. It's fun. It is continuing to capture the hearts and minds of consumers and social media pundits alike. (Uh, is that irony or something else?)
But Pinterest has a few problems that you should know about as well.
1. Pinterest is self-referential. When you Pin something others Pin it too. But often it is more about sharing the image and does not lead to ANY CLICKS to your content. Fashion and retail items are the exception to this trend. If you can buy it and you want it you are likely to click on the link.
2. Pinterest is making money somewhere. New information may be revealing how Pinterest is hijacking your links and sending traffic to affiliate online retailers.
3. The buzz will die down about Pinterest and what will be left? Perhaps it will grow and begin to dominate the social media space for the next few years, but I don't think so. The visual navigation of Pinterest is fairly limited for cataloging and retrieving information. While the pictures are pretty, and the pictures are where Pinterest really got it's start, they are not enough. A pinboard is not a sortable navigation tool. If you really want to catalog a bit of information and find it again you will put it on Delicious rather than Pinterest.
4. Over 97% of the people who LIKED Pinterest on Facebook are female. (from All Facebook) Not inherently a problem, but not really a balanced audience either. But perhaps that's just the Facebook Pinterest Fans.
For social networking you might put it on both. But one is a tool (Delicious) and one is like a mail-order catalog (Pinterest). One is fairly sophisticated in helping you tag, organize, and retrieve deep levels of information. The other is a semi-organized photo album.
Pinterest has some work to do to remain so hot. The "invites" are not being requested at the rates they were at the beginning of the year. And while I do PIN, I also TAG. I do love the visual and random nature of Pinterest. And while I have gotten some RePins and some followers, I have yet to see any significant traffic to my blog from the content I am so busy Pinning.
What have you found in your Pinterest experience? Are you using it as an index or just a visual sharing system? And would you call Pinterest a social network?
No, really, I am actually a happy kitteh on Pinterest. See for yourself.
Back in the day, deli.cio.us was a huge deal. Tag, bookmark, group, and share every bookmark you create on the web. Network with others, subscribe to peoples bookmarks, look though someone's taxonomy. It was a huge geek fest and it was entirely text driven, and thus is was fast. Several services followed to try and improve on del.icio.us and then AOL bought them. Thus was born www.delicious.com. And the magic began to die on the vine.
Today Pinterest is the fastest groaning social network of the moment. Yes, I said "groaning." Everyone I know, that is in the business, asks, "Seriously? Do I have to learn another social media platform?" My answer, quite simply is YES. (The 11th and 12th Disciplines of Social Media)
So let's look at social book marking for a minute and see what connections delicious has with pinterest. And then we will open it up for discussion.
Delicious (previously del.iciou.us) is still far and away the best TAGGING and RECOVERY system on the web. Yes, I still believe this. I use delicious every day. It is my index of the web. As the book Everything is Miscellanious (affiliate link) points out, it is not how YOU want to index and recall the information that is important, it is how I want to do it. We no longer browse websites, travelling down some architected sitemap and taxonomy towards the goal. NOPE. Google is our index, and search is our rapid retrieval and navigation system. Except Google isn't all that good at remembering or organizing our stuff.
Pinterest is bringing an entirely new cataloging and navigation to the web. It's visual. It's random. It's social. And it will kill you if you don't watch what you are doing. And you had better pay attention. I can promise you, your customers are.
NOTE: Any doubt that Pinterest is about to rock the web? I just got an email from Mashable telling me to follow their humor Pinterest page.
2nd NOTE: Several Visual Social Bookmarking sites followed delicious and have since gone away. So, perhaps Pinterest is merely a flash in the pan. There is something to be said for the pure text and tag cloud interface of delicious.
I admit I often tweet something I should bookmark using delicious. Since most of my page sharing goes through friendfeed I can always go back and find it, but for organizing my random web quests I think it is important to have a bookmark or tagging strategy.
Here are my top 10 tags from delicious:
I remember a conversation with a friend about search and retrieval of information. This person said, "I just Google it again." (the reGoogle)
I was not surprised but I pressed my point. "Do you think that others might be interested, or benefit from your breadcrumb path as you are researching a new topic?"
"Maybe, but I'd never take the time to do it."
A few years back I was working at a fast-moving startup company and much of what I was tasked with doing was exploring opportunities for content creation. Specifically I was working on a pitch to land a Motorola account. In my own example, I created a company delicious account and started tagging my quest with words like "bluetooth" and "mobile gaming." My concept was that after I had written the proposal, perhaps the actual writer would use some of my links to learn about the concepts I was proposing. I didn't know anything about mobile gaming at the time, back in 2006.
While the exercise was perfect for what I was doing, I don't know if it was ever used by anyone but me. I did not win any adoption-of-delicious awards at the company. And I'm sure some of my colleagues looked at me with you-want-us-to-add-WHAT-to-our-plate as we're researching stories?
My point was this: if you spend two hours Googling a subject and tracking down ideas for a new project, someone following in your delicious path can get to the same primary research in minutes. And if you add notes and thoughtful tags, you can help guide the next person down your thought process.
So back to my friend. I asked, "So you reGoogle everything again when you want to find that informational link on your subject?"
"Do you see the benefit of leaving a breadcrumb trail?"
"Sure, but I just don't have the time to do it."
I did not press my point any further because the frustration was building on both sides of the discussion. But my next question, in my mind, was this, "So you think it's easier to do primary research everytime you want to find that specific link to the esoteric research article? And what if you don't find the same link? How efficient is that?"
So I'm not saying you HAVE to tag and bookmark your web discoveries with delicious or mahalo. And I'm not going to make the point any further than this, "Since I have been using delicious I have tagged over 1,000 pieces of information in my own self-centered and warped tag grid. And if I need to find that funny video from a few years back, I only have 4 funny videos tagged, so it's easy to find."
Delicious[used to be del.icio.us before Yahoo bought them and paid for the real domain] is a powerful social bookmarking tool that's great for organizing your bookmarks and making them available online from any computer. But its functionality goes well beyond what you would normally call bookmarking; Delicious can provide an unequaled collaborative research tool for business, and as a social networking tool, the service uses tagging to make it easy to find bookmarks that others have saved.
The following is advanced guide to getting the most out of Delicious. Please contribute to the discussion by adding your own tips to the comments.
From the Delicious home page you use the search window to find other pages that users have tagged. And the results are ranked by number of times the page has been tagged.
So on a term like "facebook virus" Delicious returns 336 results.
However unlike Google, these results are handpicked pages from other Delicious users. The top listing was tagged by 51 other users. And from that one result you have a lot of options beyond clicking the link. Clicking on the 51 returns a list of all of the people who tagged that page. Clicking on any of the tags in the listing repeats the search on Delicious for that tag. And there is a "save" option to add the page to your bookmarks. And finally, the user name of the first person to tag the page is also clickable to view that person's main page.
Google search on the other hand returns 10,100,000 results. While the top results might be useful, the sheer number of results and the known gaming and SEO techniques used to drive listings to the top of the search pages might not necessarily give you the most useful results. If you think of Delicious as a filtered search result, 336 actual listings were tagged by actual people with the tag "facebook virus." It's like a hand-human selected search engine. And often the information on the delicious pages are more useful.
Notice ReadWriteWeb is the #1 listing on Delicious. You can bet that RWW has a well-researched deep discussion of the topic as opposed to PCWorld or CNET [no offense guys] that are covering the topic as a media event not as a real-world issue requiring solutions. The Google top results are written by journalists who are hoping to attract your eyeballs and sell you some anti-virus software, as opposed to working-solutions-writers for RWW who are hoping to attract your eyeballs and sell you some anti-virus software. The difference is that on Delicious your peers thought the RWW article was worth bookmarking. On Google, some SEO folks and some media conglomerate folks decided to jockey their "Facebook Virus" story up to attract your attention.
In the simplest terms, you can use Delicious any time you would use your browser to bookmark a site. Delicious provides buttons for Firefox and Internet Explorer that allow you to access the bookmarking info page remaining on the site you are interested in. Clicking on the "tag" button pops up a window over the open page and allows you to add a Title (pre-filled with the page title information), a description and any tags that make sense to you. There is also a check box "Do Not Share" that allows you to keep any of your bookmarks private. Clicking on the TAG button brings up the following screen.
You can see there are also Recommended Tags (tags that you have used previously), Network Tags (a simple way to share the link with others in your network) and Popular Tags (tags that others on Delicious have used on this page).
So in simple terms I can bookmark a site using Delicious in the same ways I would use the browser to bookmark the page. But there are a lot of other things I can do now that I've added a piece of content to my Delicious site.
Bookmark and share the link and your description and tags with others. [You can even set Delicious to post your links to Twitter or Friendfeed.
Find everyone else on Delicious who has bookmarked the same page.
Send your bookmark to a network of other "trusted" Delicious friends. [I can send a technical link to my dev friends and not to my entire Delicious network.]
Make a tag for a specific brand or product I am interested in and see what everyone else is bookmarking with that same tag.
Create an RSS feed of my links and tags to be read by others or used by me in a different program, like FriendFeed.
So having used Delicious since SXSWi 06 I have developed a large number of links. [9499531046 as of this article.]
And it is hard to even imaging what that number of links might look like if I pulled down my bookmarks menu in FireFox. I don't know but something tells me it might choke.
But with Delicious I have a bunch of ways to access, sort and retrieve my collection of links. [I sometimes refer to my Delicious site as "my brain on the internet" because if it's of major importance to me I will either blog about it or add it to my Delicious page and come back to it later.]
I can view my links as various tag clouds. [Tag clouds were just gaining popularity when Delicious was launched. Here is a post I recently wrote explaining Cloud Navigation as opposed to Cloud Computing]
I can "bundle" or create groups of links using their tags.
An example: I might have an educational website that I am interested in for both my kids to learn from but also from a programming or interface aspect. Using tags and bundles Delicious allows me to create a flexible and dynamic taxonomy of my links as I'm going along. So I collect "links" as I roam the web and easily add tags like "UI" and "education" and "math" to the pages so I can find them later. And then with bundles I can add the example page to both my "developer" bundle and my "kids" bundle.
A lot of the value of Delicious to me is using it as a capture and retrieval system. And I occasionally go into my account and clean up old tags, outdated pages and reorganize bundles and tags. And when I am done, I have a dynamic database of "my hand-selected information" that I can use myself or share with others.
And finally, Delicious as a whole is an amazingly powerful search engine for any topic that you are interested in. So rather than worry about "your" bookmarks, you can jump on Delicious and type in random tags like: "iPod, software, reset, troubleshooting" and Delicious will bring back results that actual humans spent time cataloging and creating. So the usefulness of the results are often much more accurate than a Google search, for example. And the search results are ranked by how many times a certain page was actually hand bookmarked by others using Delicious.
And that is the power of Delicious for crowd sourcing, dynamic information gathering and retrieval, and leaving a trail of bookmarks behind you as you travel the web in search of what's next. And the search engine within Delicious might have a good handle on "what's next too!
Additional Information: Getting Real is about getting your work done, having fun and doing it with as little extraneous effort as possible. A tip of the hat to Scott Berkun, GTD, 37 signals and 43 Folders. Without your pathfinding, where would I be?