Del.icio.us: Social Tagging Takes the Web by Storm

Being the social butterfly that I am, I must tell you about my latest favorite site. I have to admit, that I didn’t latch-on to this site on my first visit a few months ago. But, for the last month, I have been seriously in-like with Del.icio.us.

As many of you know, with the success of Flickr, tagging has taken the web by storm. To the geek world, I am so behind the wave of people discovering del.icio.us, but for the rest of the world, this is actually a timely article showcasing a new and exciting way to work on the web.

Del.icio.us, known as a social tagging site, is a great way to manage your bookmarks remotely. If I am at work or borrowing a friend’s computer, I can log onto http://Del.icio.us and access my bookmarks, thoughtfully arranged by tags. Tags make finding what you need faster. For instance, if I want to bookmark Associated Content’s site, www.associatedcontent.com, I might tag it with descriptive words like writer, author, online, articles, content, freelance, or any other word that could be a possible category for Associated Content. Now, when I want to find out which sites I can go to sell some of my freelance articles, I could log into del.icio.us and search under freelance. Now I would have all the addresses I had previously bookmarked with the tag freelance, including Associated Content.

Upon closer examination of the Associated Content link, I would notice that a number of others had bookmarked the site, as well, which brings us to some even cooler aspects of del.icio.us.

1-Tags are searchable across the entire user base.
If I am looking under content, I will see a few linked sites listed. I can go to these sites to learn more about what I was originally researching. It’s more of a smart search than a traditional search engine, because these tags are created by users, not necessarily by the site owners. In short, this site is categorized manually by the users of the site and can’t be confused by meta tags or purchased optimization techiniques.

2-Other users can turn you on to similar sites.
In our earlier example, after bookmarking the link we noticed it wasn’t the first time that site had been posted. In fact, the number of people who had also bookmarked Associated Content was listed below the name of the link. I can then click on that number to learn just who was tagging the same site as me. I noticed that one of the users were tagging things I would be interested in learning.

So, to enlarge my web knowledge, I scrolled through her listed links. In fact, I liked her links so much, that I have subscribed to her links, and have them delivered to my del.icio.us inbox. Now, everytime I log on to del.icio.us, I can check out her newest bookmarks, and decide if I want to copy that link to my list.

In the same way, tags are subscribable. I can subscribe to the videogame tag and get a copy of every link tagged by that name. Again, I can choose whether or not I want to add them to my personal list.

3-Del.icio.us shows you what is hot on the web, in real time.
After you log into del.icio.us, you can click on the popular tab to see what most users are tagging. Of course, this page is subscribable through RSS feed. For more info on RSS feed, see my article on Blog Aggregators.

Now, this is a static page, offering you a bird’s eye view of today’s web trends. In other words, if you see your own site on the popular page on the del.icio.us site, you know you are well on your way to web domination.

You can also download a few add-ons to boost your del.icio.us productivity.
-Bookmarklets can be dragged to the toolbar of your browser. When you are web-surfing and you find a great site, clicking directly on the del.icio.us tab on your browser will open a pop-up “post to del.icio.us” window allowing you to post that site with your custom tags without ever navigating away from your current site. You can find these under the About tab.
-Delicious Director is a neat skin to help organize your numerous links. It can be found at the maker’s site, http://johnvey.com/features/deliciousdirector/, though I must warn you the extended explanation, farther down the page is far too advanced for the average geek, muchless the rest of us. You should just read the initial download instructions, unless you are looking to learn the ins and outs of XML, XSL, and AJAX.

Del.icio.us is really a great web application. It truly deserves a look from you. In fact my love for del.icio.us should be apparent when you think about how annoying typing the name is. I love del.icio.us. I’m not alone in this either. According to alexa.com, their site rank has moved up over 1500 places in the last three months. Clearly, del.icio.us is taking the web by storm.

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