Delicious 2.0: Who bookmarks any more?

by Mathew on July 31, 2008 · 94 comments

When I saw the news about the launch of Delicious 2.0, I can’t say I felt a huge wave of joy, despite the fact that I am what most people would probably consider a hard-core Delicious user, with about 10,000 webpages saved since I started using it. But not only didn’t I feel any joy at the news, I didn’t really feel anything at all. In part, that could be because the new Delicious interface has been rumoured to be coming any day now for about a year (or perhaps even more, I’ve lost track). Now that it has arrived, it’s definitely anti-climactic at best. It also seems a lot slower than the old one, even though it is supposed to be faster. Maybe 10,000 bookmarks is just too many for it to handle.

But that’s not the only reason I’m ambivalent about the launch. Adam Ostrow put his finger on it in a Twitter message, in which he said that he never bookmarks things any more — he either remembers something, or searches for it, or asks someone else if he can’t remember the details. It has occurred to me over the past year or so that while I religiously bookmark things, often dozens of them in a single day, I rarely go back and look them up. If I’m writing about something and I remember some details, I type them into Google and eventually track the page down.

I’ve been experimenting with using Google Reader’s shared items as a kind of Delicious bookmark substitute, in part because that is hooked into social networks I use like FriendFeed.com and Feedly and Readburner and so on (although Delicious can be plugged into FriendFeed as well). But I have the same ambivalence about sharing items through Google Reader as well — I mean, I do it, but I hardly ever go back and look at them. Sometimes I do when I’m stuck for something to blog about, but that rarely happens. It’s occurred to me, however, that the simple act of bookmarking them makes it easier for me to remember them, the same way that setting my alarm ensures that I wake up before the alarm goes off, but if I don’t set it then I sleep in.

Perhaps the Delicious redesign will appeal to enough people who aren’t like me — to new adopters who are still using their Netscape or IE bookmarks, or to people using Diigo or Clipmarks or one of the dozens of other bookmarking tools (all of which I have also tried). But I think I’m even less likely to use Delicious than I was before. John Furrier also seems underwhelmed, although there are plenty of fans of the new site.

  • george

    As an academic, I see bookmarking as similar to creating a bibliography. Everything I need is in one place and is searchable by my own terms (tags). I’m not doing it for posterity and I’m not even sharing them with people I know. They are there for me to not have to remember everything. I bookmark very sparingly, so the quality of bookmarks exceeds the quantity. I think I have maybe 400 bookmarks in three years.

  • http://www.inqk.net Michael Camilleri

    I guess I don’t qualify as ‘hard core’ user (I only have 272). I use del.icio.us to bookmark two types of things: interesting things that I might want to refer back to at some point (http://delicious.com/pyrmont/design) and long-form articles I come across but at that moment don’t have time to read (http://delicious.com/pyrmont/unread).

    The new del.icio.us redesign doesn’t really impact upon either task so I’m happy insofar as they didn’t break anything.

  • http://www.storyofmylife.com/antje antje wilsch

    There’s a compliment Mathew, not only a reader for over a year, but one that remembers what you wrote about. Nice :)

  • http://www.mathewingram.com/work mathewi

    You are totally right, Antje. Even I had forgotten about that one :-)

  • Dave Doll

    Is it ironic if I bookmark this post?

  • lelapin

    I would agree with you and… disagree at the same time. I guess ever since Del.icio.us hit the market other competitors emerged and, in time, several took their share in what del.icio.us could pretend once to have the monopoly. The reason is: there are several ways of bookmarking because there are as many intentions when one wants to save a link.
    The way I personally bookmark:
    1 – a site: Stumbleupon
    2 – an article, more specifically: Diigo (with our without addition of a sticky)
    3 – a content I want to retrieve and won’t be certain to retrieve whenever I’ll need it: Google notebook
    4 – an article I don’t care to keep but want to share with others: Facebook this, Friendfeed this, Twine this, Tumblr this, etc. depending on whom it may best/most concern (friends, colleagues, business partners, people you only know from have friended them via various platforms, …)
    5 – anything else (and sometimes redundant with a/m bookmarking facilities): del.icio.us. A word concerning the latter: Many a time I’ve found better quality infos (and faster too) using del.icio.us than merely googling for them.

    Many ways of bookmarking because what is … bookmark-able is also very diverse.

    My 2 cts.

  • http://www.mathewingram.com/work mathewi

    Perhaps a little, Dave, but I’d be flattered if you did :-)

  • http://www.mathewingram.com/work mathewi

    Jeremy Wagstaff made a similar point in a post at his Loose Wire blog,
    and it’s something I wish I had spent more time on in my post — but
    now of course I don’t have to :-)

    The word ‘bookmark’ used to mean just one type of activity, but now it
    can refer to dozens of different things, which we do for a host of
    different reasons.

  • http://www.hiphop-blogs.com Hashim Warren

    This is why I use Google Desktop. Pages that I have visited show up at the top of my Google searches. I don’t have to remember to bookmark anything or remember to search trough my bookmarks.

  • http://www.mathewingram.com/work mathewi

    That’s a good point, Hashim — I noticed that too with Google desktop
    and browsing history turned on. Very handy.

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  • http://www.rootphi.net Brian

    I really dig bonzobox.com instead of delicious 2.0….all visual and it allows you to do other functions beyond just bookmarking including a built in google search…for those of you who don’t want to archive.

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  • http://ryantate.com Ryan

    The sharing features are incredibly useful for a team of say bloggers who pass links to one another in various contexts. As more old media migrates online and more pro blogging occurs I would expect this sort of use to increase. That said it’s probably not enough for a mass business — but does mean they could start charging if they wanted.

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  • http://www.brightrev.com Carl@Brightrev

    For me, giving up bookmarks assumes I can find any one of 10,000 different articles (using your numbers) by searching Google or “ask[ing] someone else.” I’m pretty good at wielding the Google, but it would be silly of me to think I could find any one of 10,000 articles on Google without wasting a bunch of time. The idea is that I *can’t* remember 10,000 things at once and don’t want to waste time re-finding them, so I stash them in one spot so they’re easier to find later.

    Found via Dwight Silverman

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  • Bernard Devlin

    Well, I seem to do things differently from everyone else. I don’t bookmark anything, or use RSS, or Twitter, etc.

    Websites I visit often for content that changes daily, I remember the URL, or at worst I remember the keywords I use in Google to re-find that search. For stuff I have never looked up before, I Google. When I find something I want to keep, I cut and paste the entire page into Lotus Notes (or if it has linked files, I add them as attachments). This way I can categorize and tag the documents as I see fit, create links between them, and add my own addenda to the saved documents. Sometimes I don’t remember how I categorized something, but since Notes has full-text indexing, I can find anything in a couple of seconds.

    I have a 4gb Notes database with local copies on my laptops, and they are replicated with my server. That way if a site ever goes away (and they do, and even http://www.archive.org doesn’t necessarily have a copy), I have my own copy of the data. I’ve been doing it this way for about 7 years now. People might think this whole setup costs a lot – not at all. One can buy a Notes server license for a one-off cost of circa. $150 per user, and I host the server on linode.com ($20/month) – but since my interent connection costs me $40 a month, and my time is a lot more valuable I think my setup cannot be bettered. Since a Notes database can be rendered as HTML using its internal webserver, I can also make sure I have access to all that information from anywhere with a browser.

    Notes is a greatly under-rated tool.

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  • http://jamesrhull.com Jim

    Anytime I find something worth remembering I click the Tag button with the Firefox plugin and save it. Then I can move on to thinking about something else.

    Whenever I need to return a site, I go to delicious first, search my bookmarks and find what I was looking for instantly. Why wouldn’t you bookmark?

    Typing in the keywords into Google is great, but many times the page where I found that really interesting bit of information is buried within the 3rd or 4th page.

    Lately I’ve been using a mix of Evernote (because of iPhone coolness) and Delcious. Anything private, or research material for a story I’m writing, etc. is saved to Evernote – clipping out the important parts. If I find an interesting link or page that I want to share with everyone I tag it in Delicious with a special tag that my blog reads in through an RSS feed.

  • http://www.propr.ca thornley

    Mathew, Thanks for the thoughtful post.

    Like you, I tag, tag, tag on del.ico.us. And I regularly use Search to find things I vaguely remember.

    However, I frequently use del.icio.us to find specific posts that were meaningful to me – even though they didn’t rate high on Google.

    Del.icio.us let’s us put the “I’ in Search. Google is good for the “We.”

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  • imma

    I tend to use the (possibly dubious) google toolbar for my bookmarks, so when i’m typing into my search box, the bookmarks autocomplete :)
    That’s the only reason i tend to use them to go anywhere, though i do occasionally search them for stuff i’ve forgotten

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  • http://aliji.wordpress.com Jeton

    I can’t make sense of “either remembering or searching”.
    How can you remember things in this age, where content is exploding every second?

    Bookmarking had been around for a long time, not only in digital form, but in books and other items, and it will stay around for a long time.

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  • http://projectshadow.com cedorsett

    I continue to Bookmark, but I am a blogger. The Delicious 2.0 release came at about the same time as a Mento.info release that made Mento less useful for my purposes, so for the first time in a while, I returned to Delicious to keep track of the stories that I am following so I can look back through them when i need to write a post. For that, Delicious is perfect. To discover new stories, I use Twine and Social Median.

  • http://rym.waglo.com/ millette

    I like it, it's faster, search is way more powerful too. You can finally search in your network and search on URLs.

    Now I can't wait for the new open source federated magnolia :)

  • http://www.rubberrepublic.com/blog Kirk

    Many people have pointed out the far more powerful and portable ways of keeping those really important bookmarks (for me, the bookmarks and history in Camino browser do the job fully). As a business, a shared del.icio.us account is great for us to have a central repository of things we've liked and are of note. We can pull a feed form those with a digest of each day and also feed the latest 3 stories onto our blog- a great way of showing things we've liked, pass a quick comment on them and also 'blog' them instantly….

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  • Dan

    Sorry, but this is just crazy talk. Bookmarking takes a second and comes in very useful about once a week when you're searching for something you need to finish an article or install a piece of software.

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  • http://realityme.net/ djuggler

    I still use Delicious daily (even find myself typing del.icio.us). I'm at 8785 bookmarks and I use it as a research tool. I find that I reference it rather regularly. For instance, someone was looking for a different mind mapping tool and although they could search Google and find similar results, my delicious marks are pre-filtered to only show stuff that I consider valuable. For me, Delicious is like subsetting the large search engines.

    When I am researching, I can collect articles and websites without having to thoroughly analyze them. I simply tag them appropriately then after I've collected my sources, I can easily return to them in Delicious to more closely examine them and write my conclusion.

    I have asked the same questions. Of the 8785 bookmarks, many of the older ones are dead links (I wish Delicious would hide those. I don't want them removed because I can use them as a way to find the information in the wayback machine). Of the 8785 in all honesty, most of them I never return to give another look. But those few that I do, make the service and the habit well worth while to me.

  • http://realityme.net/ djuggler

    I still use Delicious daily (even find myself typing del.icio.us). I'm at 8785 bookmarks and I use it as a research tool. I find that I reference it rather regularly. For instance, someone was looking for a different mind mapping tool and although they could search Google and find similar results, my delicious marks are pre-filtered to only show stuff that I consider valuable. For me, Delicious is like subsetting the large search engines.

    When I am researching, I can collect articles and websites without having to thoroughly analyze them. I simply tag them appropriately then after I've collected my sources, I can easily return to them in Delicious to more closely examine them and write my conclusion.

    I have asked the same questions. Of the 8785 bookmarks, many of the older ones are dead links (I wish Delicious would hide those. I don't want them removed because I can use them as a way to find the information in the wayback machine). Of the 8785 in all honesty, most of them I never return to give another look. But those few that I do, make the service and the habit well worth while to me.

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