I love del.icio.us. But you already know that. Either youve seen my del.icio.us account, or youre in my network, or even better, youve seen me present and watched me spit on the front row while dancing gleefully across the stage whenever the part about social bookmarking.
I wrote about social bookmarking tools (including del.icio.us) a little while ago and have been using del.icio.us every day since I rediscovered it. As Mike points out there are so many uses for these social bookmarking tools. I am going to focus on del.icio.us in this post because I am most familiar with it and have seen it implemented in some interesting ways. There are a number of aspects of del.icio.us that make it such a valuable tool to a wide variety of people who are active on the Web today. Once again, Mike has a great list of reasons why del.icio.us is so fantastic:
Its frighteningly simple in concept, but enormously powerful in practice
It personalises vast amounts of information
It relies on people – the bigger the participative network – the better del.icio.us works
Its a new twist on search
Its all about tags (freely chosen keywords attributable to content for categorisation)
Its easy to share
Its easy to plugin to your blog / site / app
It was not sold for a ridiculous amount of money and stands to make decent money
It has community, private and commercial applications
A number of companies and groups are starting to see commercial applications for del.icio.us that focus on research and aggregation of information. One example of where del.icio.us is being used to aggregate information is in podcasting. A few of the podcasts on the TWiT.tv network have been using del.icio.us to empower listeners to submit stories to the podcasters for inclusion in their podcasts. Doing this is really easy and all you need is a del.icio.us account (which is free) and that you add, as bookmarks, the stories you want to submit and give it a specific tag. Anyone on del.icio.us can then see what those stories are by using that specific tag. By way of an example, stories submitted to the fantastic podcast, MacBreak Weekly, use the tag "mbwideas" which itself was created by one of the MacBreak Weekly guys on the fly.
Andrew McAfee wrote a story about a company called Avenue A | Razorfish that uses tools like del.icio.us as part of its internal communications. The benefits include pretty effective sharing of information using tags and links across these readily available platforms but the risks include exposing your company’s inner thought processes to the browsing public because all of these links are public and if you can figure out the tags being used, you can see what internal people are linking to and figure out how that relates to possible product launches and internal processes.
McAfee’s post is really more about new media and other so-called Web 2.0 technologies being deployed across the Enterprise (Enterprise 2.0). He is in favour of making tools like del.icio.us available to employees to use in the course of their work and at the same time cautions employers to remain mindful of the drawbacks of these public platforms:
Perhaps the most obvious of these goes by the label ‘security.’ It’s the fear that the wrong content will show up on the platform, and/or that it will be viewed by the wrong people. The wrong people include competitors, clearly, but also perhaps dishonest employees who would be willing to sell secrets if they have access to them. They might also include regulators, especially if employees post the wrong content. For a regulator, this would include information that leaped over a Chinese wall.
For a boss, there are many more flavors of wrong content — trade secrets, hate speech, information that gets discovered by the other side’s lawyers, information that becomes a public relations disaster, etc., With all these risks, Enterprise 2.0 can seem like more trouble than it’s worth. In a November 21 story in the Times, for example, a lawyer who advises universities says that blogging by college presidents is ‘an insane thing to do.’
Of course there are other options for the enterprise and these include implementations of some of these platforms within the security of a corporate intranet. These tools include internal blogs and wikis which would be closed to the public and yet go a long way towards facilitating better and more specific information and knowledge flows within the enterprise. Once again it is important not to simply jump on the Web 2.0 bandwagon and implement every new platform that looks cool. Take a look at the platform and determine what value it can add to your enterprise or, better yet, determine what your needs are and then source an appropriate solution to fill those needs.