By Tara Swords
Last year, I was researching an upcoming vacation to Cape Town, South Africa.
After a day of browsing, I discovered three possible hotels and two shark-diving companies, along with two blog posts detailing the best ways to spend a week in the area (which both included shark diving, by the way).
Sure, I could have spent a few minutes copying and pasting all those links into an email and shared them with my husband. But instead, I took advantage of a social bookmarking service that made my links instantly sharable to anyone anywhere.
The Social Bookmarking Trend
Services like Delicious, Digg, StumbleUpon, Reddit, Mixx, Linkable and dozens more are cool because they let you store your links in the cloud rather than locally on your computer. That way, you -- or anyone with your permission -- can access your links to see what you think is worth reading. What’s great is that they always stay synced. You can add bookmarks through your home or work computer and access them via your iPhone on the go.
Of course, the coolest thing about these services isn’t really the fact that they store your links. These sites are especially good because of their social component.
Imagine that you used Delicious today to bookmark a video on FunnyOrDie.com. Well, so did a hundred other people. And the more people who bookmark and click on a link, the higher up it will appear on the Delicious home page. So by bookmarking, you’re helping all the people who visit Delicious decide what to spend their time browsing.
And not only are you contributing to the online buzz, but you’re also benefiting from it. Because when you visit the Delicious home page, you’re bound to find dozens of links that the rest of the Internet thinks are hot right now. Crowd wisdom might not be good for everything, but it’s pretty good for figuring out what’s interesting or entertaining at the moment.
How to Start Social Bookmarking
To get set up on a social bookmarking site, you’ll need to create an account. You can download browser add-ons for many of these sites, which basically add a button inside your browser so you can bookmark your current page with one click.
Also, keep your eyes peeled for the little icons that appear below tons of Web content these days. Many sites offer ways to share a page’s content -- by emailing, Facebook “liking,” tweeting, and adding to sites like Digg or Delicious, for example.
And if you’re not interested in storing your own links in the cloud or creating an account, just head over to one of these sites and browse around. No doubt you’ll find plenty of content you’ve never seen before.Photo: @iStockphoto.com/ayzek
Tara Swords is a consumer and technology writer whose articles have appeared in the Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, Inc. and other national publications.
Cloud computing enables you to connect wirelessly and comes with plenty of benefits. What's your favorite feature?