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What is social bookmarking?

David Beharall
After 11 years in professional football David retired in 2006 to set up CandidSky. He currently holds the position of Managing Director.

September 1, 2010

2 minute read

Social bookmarking is a service that allows Internet users to store, organise, share and manage all bookmarks of web pages. It is a relatively new technology that has changed the way people experience the Web and also allows features such as allowing users to classify, rate, comment on and search links to any website or blog.

History of social bookmarking

Sharing online bookmarks dates back to April 1996 with the launch of itList which featured public & private bookmarks. Within the next three years other online bookmarking services came on the scene, some of which were venture-backed companies and things became competitive. In 2003 del.icio.us pioneered tagging and coined the term social bookmarking and remains as one of the biggest social bookmarking services.

Advantages of social bookmarking

A social bookmarking system can rank a resource by how many times it has been bookmarked by users, this can be a more useful metric than a system that ranks a resource by the quantity of external links that point to it. To the user social bookmarking offers advantages such as sharing bookmarks with contacts, accessing bookmarks across multiple computers and keeping larger quantities of bookmarks organised and easily accessible.

Disadvantages of social bookmarking

One drawback of social bookmarking is the lack of controlled vocabulary, it relies on a tag based system so there is room for errors such as mistagging due to spelling errors, tags with multiple meaning, personalised tags and unclear tags all of which add confusion. Also due to its popularity users have started to use it as a tool to sit alongside search engine optimisation to make their website more visible. The more a website is tagged and submitted the better it ranks with search engines, therefore spammers have started bookmarking the same page multiple times and tagging pages with popular tags.

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