This week, I passed a landmark of sorts when I bookmarked my 10,000th website using the Delicious tool.
Back in December 2007, my colleague Alan Cann persuaded me to try out a new social bookmarking tool, then called del.icio.us (I guess from a current vantage point we’d call this an early example of “cloud computing“). Here was a way to mark websites in case you wanted to find them again at a later stage. If that sounds a bit like “favourites” on your PC, then it was – but this was SO much more. Using del.icio.us you could:
- add to one list of sites regardless of which machine you happened to be using
- add tags of your choosing (“folksonomies”) meaning that you could mark the page by content, by source, by potential use, etc
- add some additional notes or comments
- share the sites with other people (including setting up RSS feeds)
- dip into the bookmarks being used by other people, the “social” dimension.
The value of this resource was immediately obvious to me. As someone with eclectic interests, coupled with a significant horder streak, here was a mechanism to flag up things I might want to find again at a later stage without clogging my office with paper print outs. This was a point I tried to convey in a pair of (slightly contrived) photos in a July 2008 presentation about social bookmarking (still available on Slideshare which is, incidentally, one of my other favourite resources).
In the intervening period, a lot has happened to delicious (not least losing the quirky full stops in the middle of the word). In December 2010, news sneaked out from Yahoo, the parent company at the time, that they were planning to shut down the service. And then they weren’t, selling it instead to AVOS systems. AVOS didn’t seem to know quite what they wanted to do with it, introducing and withdrawing various features, before eventually selling it on to Science Inc in May 2014.
All this uncertainty made me a little hesitant to keep pouring my efforts into archiving in Delicious. Other tools were becoming available. I’ve always used citeulike as well for collation of more formal publications, but a whole gaggle of other social bookmarking upstarts were appearing on the scene. I stuck with Delicious.
The childish pleasure of bookmarking a particular webpage before anyone else was replace by a nervousness that you were always the first to bookmark pages. Was there anyone else out there still using Delicious? Would I wake up one day and find that the service has just shut up shop? I stuck with Delicious.
So, that’s my first 10,000 webpages bookmarked. Here’s to the next 10,000. Thanks to all of the programmers and companies who have developed the service and to Alan “bleeding edge” Cann for the tip-off.