del.icio.us: from good to great

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Beth Kanter checked out my post on del.icio.us taxonomies, and asked me to say more about why I choose to use del.icio.us in the first place. The big reason for sticking with del.icio.us is that it really puts the “social” in social bookmarking. Del.icio.us makes it easy to share and discover links because it:

  1. Lets you figure out which tag options are most popular by comparing the number of pages of links contained under each tag.
  2. Notes related tags for any given tag page.
  3. Offers a simple and transparent system of URLs for shared tags (http://del.icio.us/tag/yourtaghere), so you can navigate to any tag page by entering the appropriate URL in your browser.
  4. Easy implementation of multiple tag searches using the syntax http://del.icio.us/tag/tag1+tag2.
  5. Lets you browse the complete bookmark collection of any other del.icio.us user, so that you can discover interesting resources by nosing around in the collections of people who are using the same tags you are.
  6. Provides an RSS feed for every tag and personal page, so people can easily create their own linkrolls (i.e. a constantly updated list of links you’ve stored in del.icio.us that you place in the sidebar of your blog) and can easily subscribe to tags for topics they want to follow (again, the predictable URLs help, e.g. http://del.icio.us/rss/tag/yourtaghere).
  7. Stores and retrieves links quickly (most of the time), so that using del.icio.us is as fast and reliable as using your built-in browser bookmarks.
  8. Has an open and (as I understand) usable API that encourages other developers to enhance both the personal and social applications of del.icio.us with add-ons like visualizers and bookmark synching.

That said, del.icio.us could use some improvements to make its social bookmarking even better:

  1. A count of the number of links for any given tag, to encourage convergence in tag selection, or a ranked list of the most popular tags among a set of alternatives.
  2. Transparency around how related tags are identified, including some options for users to identify relationships themselves.
  3. More extensive and user-friendly documentation.
  4. A more user-friendly look & feel.
  5. Some privacy options for users who want to keep portions of their bookmark collections private — though it would be great to keep the default set to shared to encourage the social use of the system.
  6. The ability to create exclusive tags for specific groups of users, such as a group of people working together on a project.
  7. Atom feeds so that RSS calls don’t overload the system/net.
  8. A longer description (“extended”) field.
  9. Already in progress: more and better servers, since del.ico.us has started to slow down.

10 Comments on this site

  1. Roger Benningfield

    “Atom feeds so that RSS calls don’t overload the system/net.”

    Alexandra: I’m confused… given that the mechanics of polling and storing Atom and RSS feeds are indistinguishable, how does Atom help?

  2. Roger Benningfield

    “Atom feeds so that RSS calls don’t overload the system/net.”

    Alexandra: I’m confused… given that the mechanics of polling and storing Atom and RSS feeds are indistinguishable, how does Atom help?

  3. Mike

    Really great thoughts on tagging and del.icio.us. While I agree that I love the social bookmarking aspect of del.icio.us, I find blinklist.com even more useful to manage my personal bookmarks since it addresses many of the concerns you listed about the user interface. Looks like blinklist was just launched, which is why they don’t yet have some of the basics down (i.e. RSS feeds for every tag, etc.) but once that gets sorted out, it could be a very neat tool.

  4. Mike

    Really great thoughts on tagging and del.icio.us. While I agree that I love the social bookmarking aspect of del.icio.us, I find blinklist.com even more useful to manage my personal bookmarks since it addresses many of the concerns you listed about the user interface. Looks like blinklist was just launched, which is why they don’t yet have some of the basics down (i.e. RSS feeds for every tag, etc.) but once that gets sorted out, it could be a very neat tool.

  5. Beth

    Alexandra,

    Thanks so much for your thorough answer! I have found your articles and posting on tagging and social bookmarking very valuable. I created a comic in your honor and hope that you’re getting more sleep!

  6. Beth

    Alexandra,

    Thanks so much for your thorough answer! I have found your articles and posting on tagging and social bookmarking very valuable. I created a comic in your honor and hope that you’re getting more sleep!

  7. codemonkeys

    I’ve been an early adopter to social bookmarking and have been using del.icio.us for absolutely ages. Although I find it hugely useful, and important for my day to day internet use, I find the interface boring. It’s functional, but it isn’t pretty. Sites like Blinklist and Blogmarks have much nicer interfaces. I have created a simple tool that helps me find bookmarks easily from del.icio.us, blogmarks, blinklist and jots. You can access this tool at http://www.gataga.com. Hope you guys find it useful for new link discovery.

  8. codemonkeys

    I’ve been an early adopter to social bookmarking and have been using del.icio.us for absolutely ages. Although I find it hugely useful, and important for my day to day internet use, I find the interface boring. It’s functional, but it isn’t pretty. Sites like Blinklist and Blogmarks have much nicer interfaces. I have created a simple tool that helps me find bookmarks easily from del.icio.us, blogmarks, blinklist and jots. You can access this tool at http://www.gataga.com. Hope you guys find it useful for new link discovery.

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