When it comes to finding great (and not-so-great) content on the Internet, social bookmarking sites are the primary way to do it. A social bookmarking site is a website that allows users to post, list or otherwise share content they love. Most social bookmarking sites require that you become a member first, and others have more stringent criteria for admission, but for the most part, they are free to all Internet users. If you’re new to social bookmarking sites, here’s a list of my top ten.
I like Slashdot not only because it is the original social bookmarking site, but also because they filter the content that users are allowed to post. Many of the fervent Slashdot users have moved on to other bookmarking sites because they don’t want to deal with the waiting periods to have content posted. Much of the content bookmarked on Slashdot are technology-related articles and sites, so it’s a great place to go if you are troubleshooting technological problems or if you’re interested in the latest software. It has a clean, professional look and is easy to navigate.
If you don’t like visiting dozens of social bookmarking sites every day, Popurls.com is a great way to save time and effort. Essentially, this website is a combination of about two dozen different bookmarking sites and allows users to bookmark sites in a “one-shot” deal. It isn’t very easy to read because of the blue-on-black layout, but you can find more information in one session than you can going to several different sites.
This is probably my least-favorite social bookmarking site because it’s difficult to read and navigate. Simpy.com is a hodge-podge of technology-related and eclectic links to different sources of content. You can tag bookmarks that others have created or save them to your own list of bookmarks. You can also search related to others’ links from the website.
If you’re looking for videos, YouTube.com is probably the social bookmarking site you want to visit. It’s clean, well-laid-out and it has amazing search functionality. Not only can you post your own videos and view others’ videos, but you can also leave comments or copy the script to paste videos on your own personal or business site. Even some of the major news networks are using YouTube as a source of video.
While YouTube is all about videos, Flickr is dedicated to photos. You can post photos, search for photos posted by others or comment on photos you find. Most of the pictures found on Flickr are subject to public domain licensing rights, which means that you can use them free of charge and with no royalties. As social bookmarking sites go, this is a great one for pictures.
As with everything else, Yahoo! has jumped on the social bookmarking bandwagon to create My Web 2.0, which is currently still in Beta. This website combines Yahoo!’s search capabilities to create a social bookmarking/search engine site that allows you to share, copy and post links to different types of content. The one thing I like about this site is its search capabilities, which beat the others hands-down.
Hosted by LookSmart.com, Furl is a traveling social bookmarking site which allows you to save all different kinds of searches. This is the website you want to use if you are creating shopping lists or other categorized lists of different websites. You can save copies of websites or look through those that others have saved, and you can take your list from computer-to-computer.
A fairly new social bookmarking site, Listible is still in Beta, but promises to be one of the best bookmarking sites on the ‘Net. If you like to create individualized lists, this is the place to go, and will continue to get better as more people start to use it.
I stopped using Digg a few weeks ago because it became too convoluted. It’s an incredibly competitive website where users can vote and comment on different pieces of content. Users aren’t shy about telling the world what they really think and anyone can post anything on Digg. They definitely have plenty of links, however, and it’s a great place to go to find obscure content.
Recently purchased by Yahoo!, del.icio.us is a popular social bookmarking site where you can subscribe to different keywords (tags) to find interesting and obscure content. It’s easy to use and has thumbnails of sites in addition to links and descriptions.