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:
- Lets you figure out which tag options are most popular by comparing the number of pages of links contained under each tag.
- Notes related tags for any given tag page.
- 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.
- Easy implementation of multiple tag searches using the syntax http://del.icio.us/tag/tag1+tag2.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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:
- 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.
- Transparency around how related tags are identified, including some options for users to identify relationships themselves.
- More extensive and user-friendly documentation.
- A more user-friendly look & feel.
- 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.
- The ability to create exclusive tags for specific groups of users, such as a group of people working together on a project.
- Atom feeds so that RSS calls don’t overload the system/net.
- A longer description (“extended”) field.
- Already in progress: more and better servers, since del.ico.us has started to slow down.