Yesterday one of the biggest news items on the social web was about the del.icio.us site redesign. I was grateful because this site premiered on the front page of the new site driving a substantial amount of traffic this way. Aside from that I wasn’t too emotional about the redesign unlike a substantial number of people who thought that the new redesign was apparently a godsend. Not everybody was ecstatic about it though.
Prior to jumping into the new design and whether bookmarking is relevant, I think it’s important to mention that many people still don’t even know what del.icio.us is. It may be surprising for many readers of this blog but the reality is that most people still don’t use the site. So for the few readers that are unaware of del.icio.us, let me give you a brief overview.
What is del.icio.us and Why Use It?
del.icio.us is simply a bookmarking utility that enables users to keep all of their bookmarks centralized in one place. No matter what computer you are on you can always keep the same set of bookmarks. That’s the primary benefit of using the site. The site can also be used as a tool for social discovery. In fact, del.icio.us was one of the first sites to offer social discovery making it one of the most popular and most hyped Web 2.0 properties on the web.
If you visit a number of aggregation services across the web (e.g. Popurls), you will see the top del.icio.us items included on the site. It is a ubiquitous source for monitoring “what’s popular” on the web right now. That emphasized by visiting the site’s homepage as all of the links on that page are the most recent popular items.
If you haven’t done so yet and are using Firefox to browse the web, I highly suggest downloading the Firefox Delicious add-on. The tool has become my default bookmarking tool and you would be smart to do the same if you haven’t already done so.
What’s Does the Redesign Offer?
If you want to know what the redesign offers, the easiest way is to watch the video below:
As the video illustrates, there have been some substantial changes that emphasize an improvement in usability. The most significant change is that the domain has switched from the immensely confusing “del.icio.us” to delicious.com, making it easy to tell all of your friends how to get to the site (if you ever need to). The other significant changes is browsing sites via multiple tags.
Aside from that, this is pretty much the same delicious.com that you were used to back when it was del.icio.us.
Is Bookmarking Relevant Anymore?
Many people around the web are now asking if bookmarking even matters anymore. Let’s be honest, if you use del.icio.us you probably have over 1,000 bookmarks and still might obsessively bookmark sites that you don’t plan on going back to or may like to later. As Matthew Ingram points out, the unfortunate truth is that most people don’t go back to any of the sites that they bookmark.
I differ from Matthew in that I regularly return to my bookmarks to find a site that I had looked at previously, especially if it is a reference guide. The reality is that most discovery online has shifted for many of us to social discovery. For instance, you may log into Facebook first thing in the morning and see a website that has been shared by one of your friends and you navigate to it.
For those that are on FriendFeed or Twitter, there’s a good chance that you find a large portion of your content through those sites. I know I do. These tools have made the initial forms of social discovery less relevant. Digg, delicious and similar offerings were early attempts at cracking the social discovery nut. Today, it appears that personalized feeds are most relevant and help us find the best content.
I think we are still in an exploratory phase of social discovery and as humans adapting to this digital age we are still trying to perfect the process of social discovery. I continue to use del.icio.us for tracking my personal items on the web, how about you? Do you use delicious? Do you even bookmark anymore? Where do you find your most relevant content?