Social media & networking, Software & web applications

How can I use del.icio.us for my organisation?

This post is the third in a series: Part 1: What is del.icio.us?, Part 2: What makes del.icio.us a "social" bookmarking tool?.

The most basic way that del.icio.us can assist you in managing your bookmarks across multiple computers, or simply make it easier to find a bookmark through tags or search. But there are other ways you can use del.icio.us to support collaboration.

Share links with co-workers

If you have multiple people in your business that use del.icio.us, you can check out what your coworkers are linking to by checking their bookmarks page (you’ll need to know their del.icio.us username – then append it to the del.icio.us URL. For example, you can view my bookmarks at http://del.icio.us/grantyoung), or you could use the "for:" syntax to share links through del.icio.us, rather than sending emails.

You may instead want to simply all agree on a specific tag that you use when you want to share your links – then everyone can simply watch that tag – rather than having to use multiple "for:" tags to send to individuals.

For example, on the Uncensor project, the tech team have been using the uncensor tag to share links. You could use more obscure tag names – for example I might use “<organisation or project name>:team” (e.g. “zumio:team”) to share amongst people working in your team, or “<project name>:design” to share design related links.

Eavesdrop on conversations

You can monitor tags related to your area business to get insight into what’s happening online, and even watch tags related to your business or product name. For example, to see what people are saying about Yahoo!, you can check the "yahoo" tag. Using an RSS news reader makes this even easier to check as each tag page has its own RSS feed. You can use this as a form of market research – seeing who’s linking to you, and what people are saying about your business or product(s). (You can do similar sorts of research with blog trackers like Technorati or Google Blog Search, but that’s a topic for another post…)

Project-specific link sharing

If you are running an event (like a conference), you can suggest that people tag their links with a specific tag related to the event. For example, the organisers of the Web Directions conference suggested that participants use the "wd07″ tag. (You can do the same for other popular services like flickr and YouTube.)

The same approach applies to more general projects as well. Come up with a tag that you all use for your project and start sharing.

Add links to your blog or website

You can also share your links via your website or company blog – there are a number of widgets and tools for various blog tools (like WordPress) that allow you to add your del.icio.us links to your site’s sidebar.

You could use such a widget to link to reviews of your product(s), to sites related to your area of business – to any site that you think might be of interest to your target audience.

There are other tools like Postalicious that will take a daily snapshot of your del.icio.us links and post them to your blog (that’s the plugin I use here on zum.io). Some tools also allow you to specify a specific tag to link to so you can target specific links to specific blogs/sites.

And more?

I’m sure there are plenty of other ways del.icio.us can be used – leave a comment if you have a suggestion…

Social media & networking, Software & web applications

What makes del.icio.us a “social” bookmarking tool?

This post is the second in a series: Part 1: What is del.icio.us?, Part 3: How can I use it for my business?.

When you go to the del.icio.us home page you’ll see a list of "What’s Hot". This list is generated because del.icio.us can tell when a specific link has been linked by a number of people. Sort of like how Google uses the number of links to a page to help determine if it is useful and relevant, del.icio.us uses the number of links to a site to identify sites of interest in the current moment.

Although this is pretty cool, it’s not the only (nor necessarily the most useful/exciting) way that the social nature of del.icio.us can be used.

Each tag also has its own page. If you were looking for what people are linking to about, say, laptops, you can look at the del.icio.us listing for the "laptop" tag to find out what other people are linking too (or use the model name/number to be more specific – "MacBook" for example). If you use an RSS news reader (like Google Reader), you can also subscribe to a specific tag or del.icio.us user so you can keep track of what’s being added without having to visit the del.icio.us site all the time.

When you add a link to del.icio.us you may also see that it’s linked to by other people. If you click on the "saved by X other people" link next to your bookmark, you can browse what those other people have linked to.

Additionally, if you tag something using the "for:<username>" syntax, that will appear in the "links for you" section of that particular user’s del.icio.us profile (you can see this as a link at the top of your del.icio.us profile page after you have signed in). For example, my del.icio.us username is "grantyoung" – so tagging something as "for:grantyoung" will appear in my "links for you" section. This is a great way to share bookmarks with colleagues or friends. Sending a link this way means that only the "grantyoung" user (me) will have access to the link.

As you can see, there are many ways that the collective value of using del.icio.us’ bookmarks emerges – all from individuals saving their own pages for future reference.

Social media & networking, Software & web applications

What is del.icio.us?

This post is the first in a series: Part 2: What makes del.icio.us a "social" bookmarking tool?, Part 3: What is del.icio.us?.

One of the tools I mention often in my presentations is del.icio.us – a social bookmarking tool. I thought that it might be worth providing an overview of del.icio.us, what it does and why I think it’s useful, for those folks that may be unfamiliar with the tool.

del.icio.us is a free service from Yahoo! that makes it easy to save your bookmarks online. Once in del.icio.us, you can access them from any computer that is connected to the web. If you work on multiple computers (say, one at work and one at home), this can be very helpful. (Don’t worry if you can’t work out that funky address, delicious.com will get you there just fine.)

Once you’ve created an account on the site, there are a couple of ways to bookmark a site. Perhaps the simplest way to get started is to use what’s called a "bookmarklet" – which is a special link that you drag to your browser’s bookmark toolbar – to bookmark a site with one click (more information on del.icio.us’ bookmarklets can be found on this help page).

Alternatively, if you are using the Firefox web browser, you can use one of two extensions to integrate del.icio.us into the browser – one from Yahoo! that replaces Firefox’s bookmarking system with del.icio.us integration, another that extends (rather than replaces) Firefox’s standard bookmarks facility.

When you add a site to del.icio.us you can label the bookmark with a number of "tags". Tags, if you’re not familiar with them, are short text descriptions (similar to keywords) that you can use to categorise your links with. Rather than a fixed and formal set of categories, you can tag a link with as many free-form tags as you like – just use as many tags to describe the link as required.

Tags in delicious are single words separated by spaces. So if you wanted to tag something with multiple words, say "social media", you would tag it "socialmedia".

As you add more links, you will naturally get more and more tags. del.icio.us allows you to then view all of your links by tag, or search them. This makes it easier to find tags in the future – rather than having to remember exactly where you saved the link (in one specific folder for example), you can look through any number of relevant tags, or use the search function.