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the dying social bookmark


Staff member
Feb 16, 2024
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I have been publicly promoting social bookmarks since 2005, when I was using a defunct tool called FURL. Since then I have used Magnolia, Delicious, Diigo, and Pinboard. The first two are gone and the last two seem to be waning. For example, I cannot access my account settings when logged-in to Pinboard. Others are having no luck getting support from Diigo.

What are social bookmarks? They are like bookmarks on your browser except they are available online from any device, they are searchable, and you can add metadata like hashtags and categories. They can be public or private. The most important aspect is that they are shareable. Here are my Diigo bookmarks and Pinboard pins, as examples.

We discussed the demise of social bookmarks at our monthly coffee club Zoom call today and community members shared some practices and resources.

For instance, you could use Slack as a social bookmark tool (though it’s not very shareable unless you invite all your friends and pay for their access to content more than 90 days old)

Step 1: Sign up for a personal Slack team.

Yes, this is correct. Your personal team is supposed to have one and only member — you. Don’t worry if it sounds a little weird having a team of yourself, just go on.

Step 2: Use the power of channels

Besides the automatically generated #general and #random, create as many channels, as you think would matter to your needs. I have one for each of the projects I am currently working on, as well as one for each of the fields that I want to personally progress in (#java_scala, #devops_backend, #javascript, etc). Other useful channels would be #travel (collect ideas for future trips), #music (bookmark current favorite songs), etc. If a thought applies to more than one channel, simply drop it where you think it would fit best, and refer the other channel (as a hashtag).

Step 3: Start dumping your thoughts as they come to your mind.
—Using Slack as a Personal Knowledge Hub (2015)

There were also comments that perhaps we don’t need to save all information online, as we often do not find or use it again.

I had a conversation with Arthur de Villemandy, co-founder of Capsule, during which I inquired about the tricks employed by his curators. He responded with remarkable clarity, stating, “Curation isn’t about accumulating; it’s about the art of non-choice. What truly matters is the overall coherence of the selections.” This shift from FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) to NOMO (Necessity of Missing Out) could be the key to more mindful and conscious information management in the age of information overload. NOMO, fundamentally, isn’t about deprivation; it’s about liberation. Choosing is accumulating. Omitting is freeing. —Sifting Through the Noise (2023)

Several people use physical bookmarks, like Book Darts, but they don’t seem to be very shareable. Other tools, like Are.na and Pocket were mentioned. The latter is owned by the Mozilla Foundation and integrates with the Firefox browser.

Many of us miss the social aspects of sharing bookmarks. When Jay Cross was writing the Working Smarter Fieldbook in 2010, his collaborators shared resources in a community group we set up on Diigo, all categorized and with our comments.

I am going to look into Are.na and reload Pocket [it does not seem possible to import my bookmarks from Diigo or Pinboard though]. This is learning in perpetual beta. Sharing curated resources is an essential element of personal knowledge mastery. Now I need to update my online workshop for the next cohort.

Old book bindings on a shelf
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