Ever since del.icio.us and/or Delicious became a sucking vacuum for community link sharing several years ago, I have been looking for an alternative that does the job. I still use Delicious but it went, almost overnight, from being a vital, connected network I found hugely beneficial to a bolt on. You know what? I don’t even post there any more – I just have ifttt crosspost my links from Diigo – that’s how little I cherish it. (If you want to know more about the Delicious debacle – or if you missed out on the sturm und drang that accompanied its changing fortunes in 2010/11 there is a really good Quora read here)
TL;DR on this post – I failed to find a single Delicious replacement; none of the ones I tried gelled with me in the same way so I became a promiscuous bookmarker of the social and private variety. I use multiple tools that do different jobs – some for social bookmarking, some for squirrelling away things I think I should keep, others for, well, I’m not sure (Looking at you, Pinterest and Evernote). They all have pros and cons and I am still not sure there isn’t a better way.
So, these are my tools, tell me yours? I’d really like to simplify my life, at least a bit, and I live in hope that there is a Nirvana of social bookmarking out there… somewhere.
Diigo (Find me here, btw) was the social bookmarking site I jumped ship to post-Delicious, but it never had the same network feeling even though you can join various groups to – ostensibly – see links shared by like-minded individuals (these groups are actually only used by product placement types and crappy marketeers, I’ve come to suspect). And now it has managed to piss me off to the nth degree: The ‘let us bundle your links up on a weekly basis and post them to your blog’ tool was incredibly useful; you’ve only got to look at the ‘Interesting Reads’ tag on my blog to see how much I used it. However, recently I noticed it had stopped working and went to Diigo’s admin tools to fix this. It’s unfixable – Diigo has made this a premium feature only. I understand things change, and payment must come from somewhere (I work in the money pit that is mainstream journalism, after all) but I’ve read back through the Diigo blog and the many, many emails Diigo sends me and there is information on this change, like, nowhere. It looks like no one at Diigo announced a free tool was going to shift into the paid-for offerings, which is unfair on users. On the plus side, I like the annotate options, and the Chrome extension is very useful for quick-grabbling links. On the negative side, the mobile app is search only, not save; there is a Safari workaround to save links but it’s complex beyond your average user’s ability to care.
I like Pocket – it looks good and is a fast, effective way to save and organise by links. But I have fallen into the habit of using it only as a waystation – a stopping off point for links that are to be read and discarded, or read and acted on/saved elsewhere. The Chrome extension, and the Twitter and iOS integrations are all extremely good so it’s handy for saving either Tweets or links I find interesting and want to look at in more detail later. However, unless your tag game is very strong, there’s a likelihood of never finding things again if you save a lot of links, and I do save a lot of links. Although there is the ability to share content from the site it feels more broadcast than conversation. Anyway, Pocket is very useful as a free tool – I probably wouldn’t get enough out of the premium option ($50 a year if you’re tempted).
It’s not a bookmarking site, and it’s not a social site, but I do use it to save links and ping them on to wherever I would like to save them, and those recipes are public so others can use them if they like. Currently ifttt cross-posts Diigo links to my professional Facebook page, because I am still working out the best way to use said page (I think a blog post on that is somewhere in the future) and also to Delicious for me, because I like to have links saved in more than one place because bitter experience has taught me nothing lasts forever. (Hello, all my lost data on Ask500people and Listiki!)
I use Pinterest a lot, but not so much for work these days. It’s nearly six years since we set up the first WalesOnline Pinterest boards (we kicked off with cute animal stories, recipes and fashion – it’s grown to become much, much more since then). My research methodologies board (set up years ago for my MA work) is still unfathomably popular with other pinners, and my drone journalism board was set up in a fit of enthusiasm but, to be honest, there are only so many drone films you can save without it becoming repetitive. With Pinterest, I don’t need the option of a visual save for most of the journalism-related links that interest me (in fact, most work links have – at best – library photos). However, Pinterest is definitely a social bookmarking site with a defined list of communities; it’s just that my most active and involved network on there happens centered around bookmarked content around things I need/want/can never afford but covet for my never-ending house renovation.
And a few others I have used… occasionally
Facebook: Have you used the Save Link option on Facebook? If you use the FB app more than the browser/desktop it’s pretty useful for saving something to read later when you’re wifi-free and want to save your mobile data. Pro tip – read that saved link and clear it or it will haunt you forever, showing up at the top of your feed more often than a Buzzfeed quiz, or one of those hilarious e-cards about women and wine.
Evernote: I know people who cannot run their lives without Evernote; I am not one of them. I’ve tried, and I do still persevere at times but I. Just. Don’t. Get. It. Basically, it’s where stuff I never care about seeing again but feel I should keep somewhere goes to languish.
Pearltrees: I have used Pearltrees as a curation tool to display linked content for a story, and I could see the opportunities for that, but as a social bookmarking site, it doesn’t do it for me. I mean, I want social bookmarking but that doesn’t mean I’ll let anyone add content to my saves.
Digg: The last time I logged into Digg was in 2013. It’s had such a radical shift since then that while I do have links on there it’s not what the site is for any more.
So those are my most commonly used sites, and the three options I use occasionally. I suspect I am missing a trick somewhere though (although I have no desire to pay for a Pinboard account, even though I know people who swear by it, as I just don’t see what question it answers that Pocket doesn’t do better). So – what are your favourite social bookmarking sites? All suggestions gratefully accepted.