Is Social Bookmarking Still Worth It?

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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Are There Other Twitter Re-Tweeting Rules To Follow?

As some of you know, I participate most of the time on a weekly Twitter chat on Wednesdays called Community Manager. It’s pretty neat sometimes, and today it was on the topic of blogging communities, something I like to talk about often.

Days ago I asked people if they comment on blogs they share via Twitter. It’s gotten a lively discussion and has even sparked conversation on other blogs. Well, something else came up today that begs the question as to whether people should ever be retweeting content that goes on through a Twitter Chat.

Actually, this came from someone who wasn’t even part of the chat. As I’d mentioned in the original post on chats, some folks don’t really like it when a group of people take up an hour or two for these chat sessions. I debated with myself how I felt and decided that I wanted to participate and that pretty much is that.

His gripe was that because each chat already has hashtags, which means everyone who’s participating is already into the chat, that there’s no reason for anyone to retweet anything while in the chat. His two points were these:

1) Followers (who aren’t chatting) see tweets out of context, becomes blather
2) It’s redundant to people who ARE following chat

Of course we debated this for a bit, and he included someone else in his diatribe who didn’t appreciate it and said she was going to do things her way and that he could just unfollow her if he wanted to. I’m going a different way; he’s a good guy, so I’m going to state my point of view here.

To his first point, he may or may not be correct. Let’s talk about blather for a minute. When a study was done a couple of years ago, it considered these categories:

News, Spam, Self-Promotion, Conversational, Pass-Along Value, Pointless Babble

The “pointless babble” part was the only piece considered as blather; it accounted for 40% overall. Babble was defined as “These are the “I am eating a sandwich now” tweets.” Not very scientific but it fits for now. If one is in a chat and one happens to RT something that found profound enough that someone else said, is that considered babble by the definition of the study? Nope. Does it matter whether someone is in the chat or not? Nope.

Is it irritating? Well, on that front it might be. I see these things all the time, chat or no chat. However, I also share a lot of things. In this particular chat I was guilty of at least one official retweet, and some messages where I selected retweet so I could respond to a group of people all at once and forgot to remove the RT in front of the message; oops. But the retweet I did I felt was so profound that I wanted other people following me, friends of mine, to see it whether they were on the chat or not. I tend to do that with RT’s in general, and this was no different in my mind.

Now let’s look at his point #2. Is it redundant to people in the chat? Could be, but also might not be. This is a very active chat. Last week in an hour there were almost 700 messages. Today’s topic was “blogging and community management”, something I know a lot about obviously. I posted a couple of thoughts, and the next thing you know I’m getting all sorts of people writing me directly. I won’t say it was overwhelming, but it was comprehensive. To a degree, I couldn’t keep up with every single message in the chat while also responding to everyone that was writing me directly. So, often I caught a retweet hashtag instead. Redundant for some readers? Absolutely. Redundant for me? On a day like today, not even close. On other days when I say almost nothing; yeah, I’d have to agree.

My overall conclusion? It’s actually the same thought I had when I first talked about chats. Some people aren’t going to like it at all. Some people aren’t going to like aspects of it. It’s like the PC/Mac argument. Based on how I use it will I stop doing it my way. Nope, ain’t happening. Based on how others use it will I stop participating or get upset about it? No, because then I’d be a hypocrite, and I’m certainly not that. When I get irritated by a behavior I either drop someone or I move them into another bucket. But I can take it for an hour, so I have no issues at all.

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Do You Comment On Blog Links You Share?

The act of sharing what other people create is one of the most selfless things a person can do online. Just knowing that someone has read a post of mine and thought enough of it to retweet it or like it for Facebook or even every once in awhile send the link to someone else is an email is a joy.

However, I’ve noticed something else that makes me wonder a little bit about the practice. I notice that for the most part links that are shared on Twitter and Facebook by people don’t end up showing any comments by the people doing the sharing. Now, I can understand that to a degree because I don’t write a comment on every single blog post that I retweet. But I do one of two things; I either comment on the blog post itself or I make a comment on the link when I retweet if there’s room, which is another story entirely.

Anyway, when I see these things on a recurring basis, it makes me wonder if those people actually went to look at the post they’re retweeting. I think that also is what my mom would call a “sometimey” proposition. I know I’ve clicked on a link, looked at a post that’s abysmal, then asked the person who shared the link why they shared it. Only a couple of times has one of those people responded, and they were then ashamed they hadn’t gone to see what they were sharing. That’s dangerous because suddenly your credibility can come into question.

I was reading Tristan’s blog Thursday night where he talked about the number of retweets one of his blog posts got. He also did some metrics in looking at the numbers. The general conclusion was (my paraphrasing it all) that it’s great to have people retweet your content, but it doesn’t always translate to visitors, and it doesn’t always translate to new subscribers.

And thus, it seems that having people comment is a nice way to go, or maybe write about the post on your blog and find other ways to share what you think about a blog post that might have a little extra bit of meaning. I’m not saying to not retweet posts; I’m saying that sometimes it’s nice to see an extra comment somewhere, especially a comment on a blog post. It might do more good long term.

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