A rhetorical question for those of you who share my interest in social computing: Is social bookmarking a [viable] lightweight alternative to link blogging?
I maintain (and sometimes post to) three weblogs: this one, an “internal blog” that’s only visible to people inside Microsoft, and http://blogs.msdn.com/korbyp. In the past, I have used my blogs.msdn.com/korbyp weblog as a “mindmap”; a semi-permanent and search engine accessible diary wherein I record ideas and links to either people or content of interest to me on the Web. Months or even years after I blog about some subject, I’ll be sitting in a meeting and someone will say something like, “We need to do some research on visualization tools for unstructured datasets.” I’ll pop open my laptop, dial up http://search.live.com, and enter a search string that always contains “korbyp +” and one to two distinctive keywords that I remember from a post I made on that subject, months ago, about that very subject (e.g., “korbyp +visualization”). I don’t have to remember everything because my blog remembers it for me, with the assistance of a search engine.
In the past, I have also used my blogs as “link blogs”: a medium whereby I can share pointers to valuable online resources (e.g., the websites of hyperbolic treegrid software vendors) with people who share my interests.
A few months ago, I finally caved in to the social bookmarking fad and created an account on del.icio.us. As I have tagged more and more often, I find myself using my blogs to share links, less and less often. This fact occurred to me recently and I think I have ascertained the reason. It’s easier to tag a URL using a site like del.ico.us or rawsugar.com, modify its title, and add a qualifying comment if I have time and feel like doing so, than to write and publish a blog post explaining why I think the target URL is of interest to me and might be of interest to others, in the future.
What do you think? Do you use a social bookmarking service? Had you even heard about social bookmarking prior to reading this entry? Do you monitor or subscribe to other peoples’ bookmarks via RSS or ATOM to the bookmarks that other people create online? You can learn a lot about a person by staying attuned to what they’re reading and find interesting… If you’re a blogger and a bookmarker, has your link blogging diminished in proportion to the extent to which you use services like del.icio.us?
If you’re interested in the development of social bookmarking/tagging software, check out the blogs and tagrolls of my buddies Dave Morehouse (blog, del.icio.us), Bob Rebholz (blog, del.ico.us), Taylor Parsons (del.icio.us), and Alex Barnett (blog, del.icio.us, rawsugar). These guys are thinking about and building the next generation of online social bookmarking tools that will improve our lives in ways that I cannot now predict.
Update: added rel tags (“rel=”co-worker friend met””)to links of my friends and colleagues above in order to make these people links compliant with the XFN microformat standard. Congratulations gentlemen! You now represent the first nodes in my personal and site independent “Friendorati” social network.