For those of you that aren’t familiar with del.icio.us, it’s essentially a place to save your bookmarks. However, what makes it a little different is the fact that it’s a ‘social’ bookmarking site. No, that doesn’t mean you need a date to get in, it just means that your bookmarks are listed publicly for other people to browse through.
That may sound a little intrusive to some, but there’s a huge upside to allowing this to happen. In fact, it’s kind of magical. To show you what I mean, let’s take a little trip together and explore del.icio.us.
If you go to del.icio.us (yes, that’s the URL, no www or dot com in there), you will see some of the more popular items bookmarked recently as well as some various ‘hot’ tags. For now, we’ll start with the search bar. I started off with a search for "education videos". Low and behold, about 4 or 5 hits down was a website called unitedstreaming.
Looking closely at the entry, you’ll see that it says that it has been ‘saved by 412 people‘. Those words are hyperlinked and if you click on them you’ll be taken to a page full of user comments about the website, as well as a list of people who have bookmarked it and what tags they used.
Here’s where it starts to get magical. What sort of person do you think is going to be bookmarking unitedstreaming? A construction worker? A football player? A podiatrist? Probably not. More than likely, the people bookmarking unitedstreaming are going to be educators. So, let’s choose one of these people, totally at random of course, and explore a little.
I choose lecss1, and after clicking on the name, I’m taken to a list of this person’s bookmarks. They’re listed in chronological order. Along the right hand side are the tags that she has used to label them and keep them organized. Looks like she must be an educator, since she has 52 sites bookmarked with the label "Education". Jackpot! By clicking on the word Education, I can filter out her bookmarks to show just the education ones. However, there’s 52 of those and who has time to go through 52 sites? Let’s say you happen to be a math teacher. If you click on the "Math" tag, you’ll see the 10 websites she has tagged with that keyword. Voila!
Wow. Looks like a gold mine! Interactive Mathematics, a Math Dictionary for Kids, the National Library of Virtual Manipulatives, Math 4 Kids… If I’m a math teacher, I’m in hog heaven. I found another educator who has at least a passing interest in math and just raided her bookmarks! She’s done all the work, I’m just reaping the benefits.
But wait, we aren’t done yet. If you look closely, you’ll notice that each site lists how many other people have bookmarked it. So if you really dig that website Math 4 Kids, you can click on the link next to it and see who else has bookmarked that site! How many of the 227 people that bookmarked it do you think are Math teachers? Follow the links along and you can go raid those people’s bookmarks as well!
It may sound a little goofy, but I’ve found that it’s a great way to find the websites that you didn’t even know that you needed! All you have to do is find a few people who have similar interests to you and then take advantage of all the time that they wasted surfing the internet 🙂 They do all the work, you reap the benefits!
Of course, we’re barely scratching the surface here. In an upcoming post, I’ll discuss saving your own bookmarks, subscribing to other people’s, and using the Network feature.