I’m sure a majority of my readers are already using delicious or at the very least know about it. It’s an essential tool for finding new things, not only for keeping tabs on them. Mitch for one has been saying so for a while and using it as a search engine. In that article he also mentioned in passing that ou can “link your account” to other people. To me this is the biggest feature and one that a lot of people don’t know about or simply disregard.
In delicious it’s called a network and you can add any user to your network. If you go to some else’s page, like mine you’ll see a blue group of links in the top right corner where you can “Add to my network”. Back on your own profile, under your username, you have a “Network” link. The page it goes to lists all bookmarks by everyone in your network and you can subscribe to a feed of that. I’ve got 29 people in there who are all pretty regular users so I get a lot of links from there, a lot of “meat” since it’s all things they want to remember.
Outside of the basic finding of link I also find it interesting from trends and background points of view. For example I follow 4-5 integrators who deal in xhtml-css every day. When within a few days I see most of them bookmarking tips and tricks about png transparency in IE6, I know they are also trying to move away from IE6, using png transparency and trying to patch IE6 for one of the last times. When I see another user tagging 8-9 new Drupal modules related to video, I know he’s working on a big video site based on Drupal. When another is tagging freelancing ressources I know he’s about to quit his job A founder is tagging articles about leaner times, runway for startups and rationalizing, I know he’s doing his homework and getting ready for the next year.
What’s different from blogs or pasted links in Twitter is that those links aren’t (in most cases) what people are sending on purpose, it’s not what they decided would interest others, it’s what interests them, relatively unfiltered.
At times it feels a bit like stalking which is another reason I mention it here; if you are bookmarking loads of things on a subject and you don’t want that trend to be known, you might consider local bookmarks or using the “private” checkbox because followers or people happening on your profile will be able to gather some info from that. The friend bookmarking freelancing articles would be a good example.
But aside from that slight warning, it’s just a great tool for discovery and to get a feel for what your peers are into at any given time.
Another great feature not always known and not always present in the various apps and bookmarklets people use to post to delicious is the “for:” tag. You can tag a link for any user by tagging it “for:inevernu” for example and that link will appear in their delicious inbox for the next time they go to their profile page. I’ve been using that a lot instead of sending links by email or chat. I use Delicious Safari which suggest tags so as soon as I’ve tagged for someone once, just typing “for” provides me with a list of contacts I can send links to. Great feature for knowledge sharing.
Have a look; networks and sharing.
Delicious is the last social-something site where I still have an account (oh, and Flickr also). It’s clearly useful but the point you bring is one of the reason I don’t fully use the network thing. Added to that, the strenght you talk about is mostly true for geek topics. It’s a little hard for other topics. But still, it’s a very useful tool :)