For the past 10 years, social bookmarking has been a way for Internet users to add, edit, annotate and share bookmarks of documents on the web. There have been a lot of bookmarking services around since 1996, but it wasn’t until Delicious. It is the first social bookmarking site, popularized the term known as tagging and social bookmarking.

What Is Social Bookmarking?

Social bookmarking does not involve saving resources, but only creates a bookmark that references the resources. It is similar to bookmarking an entire website. Within the bookmarks, you can add descriptions so that users can know the content of the bookmark, without having to download it themselves.

Within social bookmarking, users save links to web sites that they want to share. The bookmarks are public, but you can save it privately. You can also share it with certain people or groups, within certain networks or in a combination of these. For those who view the bookmarks, they can do so by category, through a search engine or chronologically.

The social bookmarking world has continued to grow and evolve. Adding more features and importing or exporting bookmarks from browsers, through e-mails, web annotation, and social networking features.

History

Shared online bookmarks began, in a very early form, in 1996. In 1997, WebTagger came along with more advanced social bookmarking features. The service continued to evolve for the next several years and in 2003, Delicious came along and pioneered tagging, while also creating the term social bookmarking. In 2004, Delicious began to take off. In 2004, Flickr came along, inspired by tagging on Delicious. Bookmarking continued to evolve with various websites that have taken the Internet by storm and changed the concept of how people use the Internet. These are sites like Digg, which launched in 2004, Reddit in 2005 and Newsvine in 2006. Today, both Reddit and Digg rank in the top 300 most visited sites on the Internet today.

Why Use It?

So, why do people use it? For individual users, it is a useful tool for consolidating bookmarks across many computers, through a large number of bookmarks, while also allowing for the sharing of bookmarks with contacts. Institutions, businesses and libraries use it as a way to increase the sharing of information among the members. People can use it to improve web search.

Advantages

In regards to search engines, social bookmarking actually has several advantages. Search engines use algorithms that allow for the ranking of web resources. However, some websites are not yet noticed or indexed by web spiders yet, which may result to never seeing a quality content. In terms of social bookmarking, all tag-based classification can be done by human beings, who are able to understand the content of the resource on the web. This allows for quality content to be seen by more people.

Of course, just like regular search engines are vulnerable to fraud, so too is social bookmarking and companies or users can cause something to rise up the rankings, even if it is not quality. Social bookmarking is quite susceptible to corruption and fraud.

That all being said, it is a useful tool when used with search engine optimization to help a business get its website noticed.