You may have heard about the social bookmarking site del.icio.us but, if not, you wouldn’t be the only one — I only wrapped my head around it a couple weeks ago. As you may have guessed, the basic idea is that you can store all your bookmarks on a centralized website and assign them keywords or “tags” as they’re called in del.icio.us-land.
Then, all the links and usernames are linked together :). So, you can:
- ... click on one of that tags which you've given a URI (say “CSS”) and see all the other sites with that tag.
- ... click on a link and see who else bookmarked it
- ... click on a link and see what tags other people gave it
But, other than linking everything together, del.icio.us is fully RSS-capable. A quick primer on RSS, in case you hadn’t heard of it: RSS allows subscriptions to websites and with an RSS reader (such as the web-based Bloglines), you get a notification when that site/blog is updated.
So, you could “subscribe” to a tag if you wanted to (such as “steelers”) and you’d receive a notice in your RSS reader every time someone tagged a link with that word. Or, each user’s account is also RSS-readable, so you could subscribe to subscribe to (say) John Smith’s account (or my account) and see each link that he added.
Of course, you could subscribe to your friends’ accounts and view links as they bookmark them. Or, you could follow a tag for one of the links which you added to del.icio.us, see who else bookmarked it, and then subscribe to his/her links — for instance, if you like motorcycles, could click on one of your links which had the tag “motorcycles” and then click through to one of the accounts of someone else that bookmarked that link. And, maybe you'd find some useful links of interest on that guy's page (even if he didn’t tag them with “motorcycles”).
As I wrote this entry, I also looked around to see if anyone else had given a straightforward explanation of the del.icio.us concept. I found this thread at Ask.MetaFilter and there, gwint lists quite a few advantages of del.icio.us in one of his posts, but I didn’t want to paste all of that here without his permission.
There were also several recommendations in that thread for this article entitled “Us.ef.ul — A beginner’s guide to The Next Big Thing” and I would have quoted a few bits of that but that article ends up rendering about 2000 pixels wide in my browser and I couldn't really make my way through it. (Then again, I’m running the Firefox build from two days ago, so the odd layout may not necessarily be the authors fault.)
At any rate, I’d recommend giving del.icio.us a try. For what it’s worth, my account is “handcoding” there and there are several Firefox/del.icio.us integration tools (in addition to a del.icio.us-supplied bookmarklet which works just fine as well).