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Is Social Bookmarking Still Worth It?

Posted by on May 6, 2011

Last week I received an email from Delicious announcing that they’d been bought out by the people who originally created YouTube and that things were going to be changing over within 30 days. If I wanted to keep my account and bookmarks I’d have to go in and change things on my own before that time, otherwise I was going to lose it all.

For me, that was pretty much the last straw, of sorts. I wasn’t angry by any of it; not even close. Instead, I was bored and tired because this seems to be a common occurrence lately. These social bookmarking sites change things around, don’t give much of an explanation of the changes, and we’re supposed to roll with it and be happy and on our way.

I was also irritated 18 months ago when Technorati made its drastic change and suddenly no one had any idea what the numbers meant. I think I’ve been back twice since I learned of it, and I had never used the site to bookmark any posts at all as far as I can remember.

I’m wondering if the heyday of bookmarking sites like these has passed or is about to go away in its present condition. I read where people have major gripes about sites like Digg and StumbleUpon all the time, and it seems to be more prevalent and easier to do to just retweet posts to Twitter, something we’ve talked about a lot here lately. Indeed, it’s even easier to click on the “like” button at the bottom of some posts and share in Facebook because you don’t have to go anywhere else to do it. And let’s face it, Facebook is much bigger than all these other sites at this time.

I had a brief conversation with someone on Twitter about sites like Amplify and FriendFeed as well. I asked why it’s not just as good to post a link to one’s own site directly everywhere instead of going through one of these other sites. His belief was that these sites were much larger and could help get the word out easier. My gripe was that one clicks on a link in Twitter thinking it’s taking you one place, instead it takes you to one of these sites, and then you have to click on another link to actually take you to the article you want to read. I can’t be the only one that thinks that’s irritating. If it’s a news aggregator you happen to be visiting, like Alltop, that’s one thing; but sending out links to another site instead of directly to your own content just seems silly.

But maybe I’m fighting the new way because I’m older; I can’t believe that but it’s possible. What thoughts do you have on this topic?

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I was using Delicious (and now Diigo) not for the “social” in it, but mostly for the fact I can access those bookmarks from all my devices (mobile included) and that’s very vital for me.
Also, I use a “comments” tag to keep track of all the comments I leave around to check back in an easier way for those blogs without a ReplyMe or similar plugin installed.
In this light, social bookmarking services are pretty useful to me, and I am curious to see what will become of Delicious not that it went in the hands of valid entrepreneurs once again.

May 6th, 2011 | 10:30 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Gabriele, I have to admit that the only way I’ve ever kept track of places I’ve left comments is if I get notification back because someone has commented on what I’ve written. Otherwise I consider it an attempt at participation and I move on. I thought in the past that using Delicious helped spread my posts to people that might not see them otherwise, but I think that expectation was invalid.

May 6th, 2011 | 10:10 PM

I get irritated like you when I click on a link and it does not go the place I expected it to. I only post or tweet out links which do that. Why give a reason for someone NOT to visit? I know lots of times if the link goes to one of these places, I close the browser tab.

May 6th, 2011 | 10:56 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

I’m the same as you, Scott; irritates me often, and if I actually end up liking what I see then I might retweet, but I change the link so I’m not accused of doing the same thing.

May 6th, 2011 | 10:11 PM
James@Web Design India:

Hi Mitch,, digg, StumbleUpon, reditt and other popular social bookmarking sites works very well if you know how to use it. It will bring good amount of traffic and backlinks.

May 7th, 2011 | 9:58 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

How James? That’s my basic question; how does it bring any traffic? My Analytics stats don’t show that at all.

May 7th, 2011 | 11:02 AM

The only place, other than the Big Two, that I tend to see any traffic at all from is StumbleUpon (*knock wood*, hope I didn’t jinx it). The other places I continue to post at just for the inlinks, and because it’s convenient to do so with my AddThis toolbar…

May 7th, 2011 | 1:26 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

Sonny, I guess I just never really noticed all that much benefit from doing it, although I have noticed a little benefit when someone else did it for me. I mean, I don’t have accounts on either StumbleUpon or Digg, but I do get traffic from them every once in awhile.

May 7th, 2011 | 3:57 PM

I have kind of recovered myself from most social bookmarking hypes from promotion point of view. However, when people rate your blog as a brand, the twitter/facebook presence matter more than anything else (of course after search positions). It’s been ages since I cared about digg or stumble 😉

May 8th, 2011 | 10:13 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

Ajith, it’s a great honor to have someone recognize your blog posts, I agree. However, me doing it for myself, hoping people will find it, is done. Heck, I never looked at those sites for blogs or articles to read so expecting others to do it just seems a bit unrealistic at this juncture.

May 9th, 2011 | 10:05 AM

In terms of SEO – social bookmarking have lost its power about 2 years ago, however top bookmarking websites still can bring some traffic, but if social bookmarks are too many and leave traces from the same username it can be even harmful so I don’t think that amplifying this is good idea.

May 9th, 2011 | 4:39 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

I just don’t get Amplify, Carl, and the others… I figure if people are popping you in there it can’t be bad, but I’m not doing it for myself any longer.

May 9th, 2011 | 10:07 AM

Hi Mitch, how are you? Where shall I start…
StumbleUpon is my #1 traffic referrer (outside of organic search) and I have a couple of tutorials that detail how I achieved that level of traffic. Biggest tip – don’t submit you own posts. All of the strategies I have for StumbleUpon are totally opposite and counter-intuitive from the way we normally promote on Twitter or Facebook. It took me almost two years to figure that site out, and I don’t mind sharing my strategy.

I stopped using Amplify but not for the same reason you mentioned – I don’t like the fact that they changed the limit of the post title to 40 characters. They have their logic, but goodness knows I don’t have the time to debate with them about it. So I just moved on. But – once again, I didn’t use Amplify for promotion of my own blog I used it as a handy way to auto-post to Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, Diigo etc. Most of my post were from other sources but I managed to get traffic from the profile widgets (I kinda miss that Amplify traffic but the number of visits is no comparison to the amount of StumbleUpon traffic I get now that I switched my focus).

Delicious never sent traffic my way. In fact I always used Diigo to bookmark stuff, but right now I’m testing SpringPad, and I like it just as much.

I autopost to FriendFeed, but I never check in over there. However new people follow me all the time.

I’m not a fan of Alltop and it’s funny because I include it in the category of – why send me to another site? – like you said about Amplify. LOL!

On a side note – yesterday I found out that Disqus added a new feature where people can @mention you in a comment and you’ll get a notice. The problem is (and here’s the tie-in to this conversation) you get a Tweet from DISCUS_Mentions that says – “You were mentioned in a conversation here:” followed by the link. You have no idea what blog you’re going to, who mentioned you, or what the topic is. Well, I’m not too happy with that one.

But then again I’m a die hard CommentLuv fan so nothing that Disqus does is going to meet with my approval anyway 🙂

I’d be happy to chat more, but I gotta get ready for work now. Have a great day!!

May 10th, 2011 | 6:29 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Great comment Ileane. I never signed up for StumbleUpon or Digg because I kept reading where people were getting thrown off or having their accounts deleted for no reason or no known reason, and frankly I didn’t need to bother with that nonsense. I see how you’d like being able to send to multiple places at once but I figure I kind of already have it covered as far as sending to the places I want my posts to go.

Still, I wonder about these types of things long range. Do you think they’ll still exist 2 or 3 years from now?

May 10th, 2011 | 11:10 AM

Mitch, I think StumbleUpon has some longevity. At one point the owners sold it to Ebay and then bought it back again and the market share climbs every month.

I don’t expect Digg or Amplify to be around much longer.

I’m not too sure about Alltop but it seems pretty solid.

Technorati has come back so many times it must be like a cat. 🙂

May 11th, 2011 | 12:30 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

I just don’t trust StumbleUpon and Technorati is confusing as all get out. Course, maybe one day someone will write a guest post about StumbleUpon and then I’ll learn more about it. 😉

May 14th, 2011 | 8:25 AM