Figured I’d take a minute to explain some posts that you’ve probably noticed on The Tempered Radical that you may not be familiar with. They’re called "links for" posts, and you’ll start seeing them on a regular basis.
"Links For" posts are an interesting service provided by one of my favorite Web tools, Delicious. Delicious is known as a "social bookmarking" application. In it’s simplest form, Delicious serves as an online bookmark application that readers can use to keep a list of "favorites" accessible from any computer connected to the Internet.
In and of itself, that’s pretty handy. How many times have you wished that you could get to your favorites list when you were sitting at someone else’s computer? With Delicious, you can. What makes Delicious even more powerful, though, is that you can make your "favorites" list open and available to anyone who is interested in looking at what you are reading.
That means that if you find someone whose thinking stimulates yours, you can "see" what it is that is leaving them jazzed on any given day. Chances are, that material is likely to be of interest to you as well, right? Essentially, Delicious users are helping one another to "sift through" the volumes of content available online. Rather than Googling a topic, Delicious users can narrow their focus by exploring the links that others they admire or respect are bookmarking.
For example, I’m always highly motivated by Will Richardson. After all, he’s doing some remarkable thinking around the innovative ways that technology can be used in the classroom, right? Wouldn’t it be cool to share his online reading list?
Well, you can….and I do! It’s available right here at Delicious. If you use a feed reader like Pageflakes to keep track of the blogs that you like to follow (Here’s mine), you can even add someone else’s Delicious account to your feed and instantly track the content that they are bookmarking each day.
Now here’s the real kicker: For each item that you bookmark, Delicious will provide you with a direct link to all of the other users who bookmarked that the same item. Take a look at this image, showing an entry in my Delicious account:
Do you notice the "saved by 31 other people" text highlighted in pink? That link will take me to the Delicious accounts of other users who found this same article interesting. Most of them are users that I’m sure I won’t know—after all, tens of thousands of people use Delicious every single day. But one thing that all 31 of us share in common is an interest in this particular article on recording Skype interviews.
How can that be valuable to consumers of web-based information?
It’s an instant "starting point" for researching. I know that I share a common interest with the 31 other users who bookmarked this particular article: We are all researching ways to best record conversations that we have through Skype. The chances are good that someone in that list of 31 people has found even more information about our shared interest.
So why not spend some time poking around their Delicious accounts!
By doing so, I’ll be able to benefit from the time that they’ve spent winnowing down the available resources on our shared topic of interest. The effort that they’ve invested in searching the Web will be time that I don’t have to spend—and the effort that I’ve invested is time that they don’t have to spend. By sharing our resources, we’re making one another collectively smarter…and we’re saving one another time.
And we don’t even know one another! Amazing, huh?
Now, Delicious also has a feature that allows users to automatically post links to their bookmarked resources in their blogs….and that’s something that I configured yesterday. So every day at 5 AM (a time I arbitrarily picked because I didn’t bother to look up what "GMT" was), Delicious is going to post a list of everything that I bookmarked the previous day.
Lots of bloggers are using this feature primarily because it allows their readers to "track" what’s on their minds. Obviously, you’ve been drawn to the Radical for some reason, right? Otherwise you would have stopped reading a long time ago.
So I figure you’ll probably be interested in seeing what I’m reading each day! Maybe the resources that I reflect on will be something valuable to you as well…and if it is, that’s a beautiful thing because it’s saved you time and hassle.
Now, just know that the "links for" posts that you find here aren’t going to be fancy at all. There’s no pictures attached and no commentary—other than what I add into Delicious when bookmarking a site. They are simply a list of the things that I’ve read during the course of a day.
Also know that you’ll see resources that are related to all of my personal interests: Technology, education, politics, the European Union. I only have one Delicious account and I use it for all of my personal and professional purposes. So the next time you see an article in my Delicious links about the Schengen agreement or the American Gladiators, don’t be surprised!
Anyone else out there using Delicious? What kind of impact has it had on your ability to become an efficient consumer of online information? Has it made your life easier in any way? How?
Better question: Is it important for teachers to introduce tools like social bookmarking services and feed readers to kids? After all, managing online information is only going to get harder in the future, right?
Best question: When will Delicious be banned by my district’s firewall!