We all have our favorite Web sites bookmarked or saved as favorites in our browsers. Social bookmarking takes that idea and puts it on steroids. Instead of the bookmarks being visible only to you, they’re shared with other users, aggregated and rated. Social bookmarking sites help the cream of the Internet crop rise to the top.
As one of the top 100 most popular sites in the world, Digg is a powerful player on the social bookmarking scene. As its tagline says, “Digg is a place to discover and share the content on the Web.” Digg members share content by submitting a URL or clicking on the Digg bookmarklet (those little icons at the bottom of a Web page). That’s called “digging.” Once a video, article or image has been “dugg,” a link and brief description is added to the Digg Web site where other members rate the content up by digging it or rate it down by burying it. Content is organized into major categories such as Technology, Science and Entertainment, so that it’s easy to browse what others have dugg.
Mixx works pretty much the same way Digg does. You add content to the mix by clicking on a bookmarklet or by submitting a URL. You can then rate what others have submitted and Mixx will create a YourMixx page with suggested content based on your tags and submissions. A nice feature of Mixx is the local content. When you register (you can use your Google, Facebook or Yahoo IDs), you’re asked for your ZIP code. Mixx Local (found under the Popular tab) serves up things submitted by people near you and content about your city.
Like the other sites, at its heart, StumbleUpon is a personalized recommendation engine where you share your favorites and relevant content is served to you based on your interests. If you’ve got some time, either log on or install the StumbleUpon toolbar and click “stumble” (its version of browse). Random Web sites (loosely based on your activity and preferences) will be displayed for you to rate (thumbs up or thumbs down). In addition to the toolbar, StumbleUpon makes it easy to discover new sites with emailed collections of recommended sites.
Delicious (formerly De.licio.us) was one of the first social bookmarking sites and helped pioneer the concept of tagging (assigning keywords to content). Instead of using traditional categories to organize content (taxonomy), Delicious uses a collaborative index (folksonomy) based on tags users assign. Delicious is a pure, uncluttered site making it easy to explore recent or popular tags or do a search for things that interest you.
Reddit, a pseudo-play on the words “I read it on,” is an old-school social bookmarking site where users rate up what’s good and rate down what’s junk. Users accumulate “karma” based on the popularity of their submissions. Almost as important as the content are the comments, which can also be rated.