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Which Social Bookmarking Site is Right For You?

written by: •edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 7/8/2009

There are a LOT of social bookmarking sites around nowadays. Which one should you use? This article goes through the major players and looks at factors you should consider before investing your time in one site.

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    What You Need

    After learning of the many reasons to use social bookmarking sites, it may be somewhat intimidating to realize that there are dozens of good social bookmarking sites out there for you to use. Which one should you use? Since the time invested in using one of the sites is somewhat large and its hard to switch over your bookmarks, you definitely want to find one you like and stick with it. Luckily each social bookmarking service provides its own flair so that you can find one that allows you to use the internet the way you want it. Some people use specialized social bookmarking sites to fit their occupation or hobby--such as one for web designers or for business owners. But for the case of this article we'll stick to the less focused bookmarking sites. Below is a list of some of the most popular sites and a few of the more interesting but less popular ones. Find one you like then try it out; I promise it will change your whole internet experience.

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    The Big Five

    There are a few biggies out there you've probably already seen. Here's an overview of the big five:

    Digg: The most popular of bookmarking sites, this allows users to submit and "digg" various articles, comment on them, and save them as favorites. It also has an excellent plugin, providing the latest diggs and a good active comment system. Not the best as a place to gather your favorites but an excellent place to find and promote content. Also has an excellent plugin for Firefox and IE users.

    Reddit: A lot like Digg, Reddit performs some of the same functions but does so with a simpler interface and far more emphasis on discussion. While most diggs will only receive a few comments, reddit is known to receive dozens, even hundreds, for each link.

    Delicious: One of the original social bookmarking sites, Delicious is mostly focused on personal bookmarking and therefore has the best features for tagging and organizing your content. Also very simple and easy to use.

    stumbleUpon: A little more advanced, StumbleUpon provides the same set of features as the others but with an innovative "Stumble" button that takes you to a semi-random site that fits your interests. You can then "Like it" and it will save it to your bookmarks and provide more of the similar content, or do a thumbs down to provide less content like it. It is incredible how many interesting things pop up. Also, StumbleUpon is a good place for reviews of sites and the toolbar is by far one of the most helpful.

    YahooBuzz!: This is Yahoo!'s excellent entry to the social bookmarking world, which connects your Yahoo account to the social bookmarking world. While Microsoft and Google have similar services, Yahoo's is much more popular and will provide you with the best kind of content. Particularly good at finding news articles.

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    The Specializers

    Most of the big five above have the same basic functions with only a little variety. There are a lot more, however, that have interesting focuses or some bit of flair that might make them attractive.

    Technorati: If you like to keep up with the whole blogosphere, technorati is the authority on social bookmarking for blogs. It keeps track of what is going on currently in the blogs and lets you organize, find, and keep your favorite blogs and entries.

    Newsvine: If you want to focus on keeping up and organizing the news then newsvine may be worth checking out. Even if you do have another social bookmarking site, newsvine is an incredibly helpful way of organizing and finding news. For those who want to actually become a part of news contribution, you can even opt to write your own column and articles for this site (and get paid for views).

    Kaboodle: If your one of those people who loves to keep an eye on all of the latest products and deals online, Kaboodle offers an excellent way of socially finding and sharing products. You can bookmark products, review them, rate them, comment on them, then share your list with friends.

    Propeller: If you are an AOL user then it may be good to know that AOL has their own bookmarking site that, due to the number of people still using AOL, does well enough. However, its features offer nothing that you couldn't get from the big five. Only convenience is the integration into your AOL account.

    Mixx: If you feel like you need more direct say in what content is delivered to you then Mixx provides you a bit more freedom to cater your newsfeed as you like it. Unlike the recommendation algorithms that Digg and StumbleUpon use, this gives you more direct control over the links it brings up for you.

    Fark and Slashdot are both culturally-oriented, editor-filtered social bookmarking sites. Fark is oriented towards a young, male, and somewhat crude audience. Slashdot is oriented towards nerds and geeks. Both of these have a series of editors that control, to some degree or another, the content that goes up. They both have been around for a while and have a large community, however you have to pay to get the full usage of Fark and Slashdot normally assumes a bit of technical knowledge.

    Diigo: If you are the kind who obsessively annotate everything you read, Diigo (a somewhat obvious rip from Digg) has one really unique and cool feature: it lets you post notes and annotations over sites, save them for later, and share them with your friends.

    Twine: If you want to find people with your same interests, with whom you can share links related to that interest, try using twine. It is organized around different "twines" that are like clubs for a particular interest. When you put in a link you submit it to a specific twine. This neatly parses out links and lets you be part of a group built on mutual interests.

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    If any of those caught your eye, go check them out and see what you think. If you're interested, register an account, add it to your browsers bar, and start exploring around. If you need a basic rundown on how to use your social bookmarking site head over to my article Using A Social Bookmarking Site. Good luck!