Digg, Reddit, Fark, StumbleUpon, and Del.icio.us are only five of the many Web sites known as social bookmarking sites or social networking sites (but for Delicious, which is more about bookmarking only). They all fall under the social media umbrella.
They provide an online home for people to save stories, videos, and podcasts. Rather than fill your favorites folder to the point of overkill, use an online bookmarking tool, and have the ability to access it from any computer.
Additionally, all of these sites provide a way for you to share the stories that you love, with other people.
Anyone can visit these sites for information (they’re a great way of learning what is being talked about in the blogosphere; staying current), but if you want to submit content or vote, you usually need to become a member.
Also often referred to as folksonomy, because folks generate the taxonomy, these sites categorize Web content by using tags (specific categories). The ultimate aim of these Web sites is to make searching and navigating the Web a lot easier.
It’s a simple process. When you find something on the Internet that you love, bookmark it. Other members of the site, or the site’s community, then have the opportunity to rank it. This drives the better stories to the top of the list and pushes the shockers down, or even out.
A recent Wall Street Journal article, The Wizards of Buzz, defines social bookmarking sites as “A new kind of Web site turning ordinary people into hidden influencers, shaping what we read, watch and buy.”
If a story becomes popular it can literally drive thousands of visitors to a Web site within minutes.
The WSJ article mentions Henry Wang, a high school senior in the United States, who pointed out a site called Famster, on Digg. After getting 1,700 votes from the Digg community, Henry’s influencing power became evident; he drove Famster’s daily visitors to 50,000 within days.
Henry didn’t do too badly either; he now earns $1,000 a month from Netscape, doing what he loves best, searching the Internet for great stories in his down time. Not bad for a part time influencer.
For writers, social bookmarking sites are a brilliant starting point for research.
The information is usually topical and current, and the need to rummage around the Internet for hours is eliminated; someone else has done the work for you. All you need to do is find a bookmarking site you like, and then find the tag that best fits the information you are looking for.
So next time you’re checking out Web sites and come across one of these buttons, click it, and let the writer/producer—and the world—know you enjoyed it.
Information around the Web that may interest you about this topic
- A continually updated list of Social Media Sites
- What is and how to use StumbleUpon
- The Definitive Guide to Fark
- What is and how to use Delicious
- What is and how to use Digg
- Fundamentals of Social Media Marketing - a series
Updated: June 2008