One of the most popular web innovations of the past year has been "Social bookmarking".
Imagine you could free your web bookmarks from your browser and store
them out on the web, so you could access them anytime, anywhere, from
any web-connected computer.
Lots of services sprang up a few years ago offering that kind of functionality – but then a few went one giant step further.
They said, the web is all about ‘community’ and ‘interactivity’. What
if you could share those bookmarks, add to them, trade them, peek in on
other peoples. See what was being bookmarked NOW, or what was being
bookmarked a lot.
Social bookmarking was born.
There are many services that offer variations on this now – I use del.icio.us – and you can have a look at
If you’d like to see other social bookmark sites – click on the "bookmarks" tag in the right hand column, under "unbundled tags"
Tags are a bit like keywords, they’re a way to build a kind of ontology, an order and structure out of the mass of data. The column on the right is a tag "cloud" where the number of bookmarked sites sharing the same tag causes that tag to become bolder and larger, thus telling you at a glance which are my most oft-used tags. Users can arrange their bookmarks by "tag cloud" or alphabetical list or by categories or frequency of use etc.
So, what’s that got to do with us?
Well, imagine if we started "tagging" our stories on the web – and then offered readers a tag cloud page as a way of searching our content. It would not only add lots of value to our stories by organizing conent intelligently, it would also allow readers (and us) to see at a glance what we were really spending our time reporting.
Now imagine we allowed readers to tag our stories, and make that tagging public and share it….
The web has taken our nice, carefully organized, packaged and designed newspaper and ATOMIZED it, shattered it into it’s constituent bits, it’s atoms – individual stories, retrievable and findable via search engines.
Shouldn’t we give readers a way of putting it back together? In a way that makes sense for them?
Because if WE don’t do it for them, know that someone else out there is doing it right this very second – and once they grab our readers and content….