How I Use Diigo to Automate Sharing

Diigo is one of my favorite, most indispensable social networking tools. I use it not only to bookmark sites and articles I find interesting and useful, but also to share those links with others. When I first started using Firefox many years ago, I found I was consistently losing my bookmarks. I turned to the online bookmarking service Delicious so that I wouldn’t continue to lose precious links. I discovered I actually liked the social bookmarking aspect of Delicious. I could subscribe others’ bookmarks, and they could subscribe to mine. It was a great way to discover information. Even after Firefox’s bookmarking issue seemed to stabilize, I continued to use Delicious. Then Diigo came along.

Diigo has several features that prompted me to stop using Delicious as my main bookmarking tool. First, educators have access to a few of the special features that regular free users don’t have. Teachers can create class groups and student accounts so that students in a class can share bookmarks to the group. I tried this feature out with somewhat limited success, but I think if you had a class that really understood the power of social bookmarking, it would work very well. It’s probably my fault that the students didn’t use the feature much, but when I try this feature again, I will do a much better job of educating the students about its uses. Diigo educators also have a Teacher Console, which makes it easy to manage your class group.

Because I like to share my bookmarks, I have three systems in place the help me bookmark and share my bookmarks more easily. First of all, I have an extension installed in Firefox called Diigo Toolbar. Similar extensions are also available for Google Chrome and Internet Explorer. I can use the toolbar for a variety of tasks, such as adding a sticky note or highlighting information on a website, saving information to read later, or simply bookmarking sites. I admit I don’t use the first two features much, though I probably should use them more. You can make your sticky notes public or private: it’s up to you. When I bookmark a site using the toolbar, a popup window appears. Here I can change and add information to the bookmark. I almost always add a short description of the bookmark and tag it with appropriate tags. Tagging is crucial because it is the easiest way for me to find my bookmarks in my account. I simply search my tags in my Diigo library. Here is an example of what happens when I search for bookmarks tagged “gatsby.” I can also choose to send a link to my new bookmark out via Twitter or save it to a group. I am a member of several Diigo groups, including the English Companion Ning Group, the English Teachers Group,  and the Diigo In Education Group. You can create groups and easily share resources among members of your department, your classroom, your school, your district, or any other group.

In addition to the Diigo Toolbar in Firefox, I also use a feature that automatically saves tweets I mark as “favorite” in Twitter to my Diigo account. It just takes a minute to set up, and then it’s easy to collect bookmarks using Twitter. Twitter is my best source of information and links. Members of my professional learning network (PLN) on Twitter are always sharing great websites, tools, and blog posts, and simply by mousing over the tweet and clicking the star on their tweet, I can mark it as a favorite:

This process is even easier in my preferred Twitter client, YoruFukurou. I don’t even have to mouse over the tweet to be able to see the star.

Anywhere from every few days to once a week, I go to my Diigo library and tag the bookmarks I have saved from Twitter. Hashtags that the tweeter may have used will automatically function as tags, but I usually need to add my own tags or additional tags in order to make the bookmark easier for me to find again.

The third feature I use to help share my bookmarks is Diigo’s auto blog post feature. I set it up once and now every week on Sunday, all the bookmarks I have saved are published to my blog so that anyone who follows my blog but not necessarily my Diigo accounts can see what I found. Unfortunately, you can’t specify which day you want the bookmarks to publish; Diigo automatically publishes them on Sunday. You can choose to publish bookmarks once or twice daily, but I felt that was too often.

I have also added Diigo’s app to my iPhone, and when the day comes that I’m able to buy an iPad, it will be on my iPad, too.

One of the nicest features of Diigo is that I was able to set it up to automatically publish all of my bookmarks to my old Delicious account, so anyone who subscribed to my Delicious bookmarks can still receive them, but I don’t have to bookmark using two different sites or systems.

Diigo saves me so much time, and it allows me to quickly curate and share all the great websites and information that I come across. I don’t know what I’d do without it.

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Delicious: What Went Wrong?

DeliciousIn the last few days, you’ve probably been hearing a lot about Delicious as a slide leaked from a Yahoo company meeting declared Delicious was one of the companies Yahoo planned to “sunset” or shut down. Now Delicious’s blog declares that Delicious will not shut down, but it will find a new home somewhere else. Delicious could be great, but it languished on Yahoo’s back burner. I know a lot of educators who used it to great effect, and even when I switched to Diigo, I didn’t close my Delicious account—I just set up Diigo so that it published my bookmarks to Delicious, too. I knew some folks subscribed to my bookmarks’ RSS feed in Delicious.

I started using Delicious in 2005 because at that time, I was having difficulty with Firefox randomly losing my bookmarks. I liked the idea that I could save my bookmarks somewhere else where Firefox couldn’t lose them. It has since become more stable in that regard, but I was hooked on social bookmarking by that time, and I still rarely use my browser bookmarking tool. I totally understand the irony of switching to Delicious so I didn’t keep losing my bookmarks, in case you were wondering. I switched to Diigo in 2009 largely because of a few more features it had that I liked. What makes both Delicious and Diigo great is the ability to share bookmarks. Silvia Tolisano uses Delicious. Until she started having trouble with the RSS feed updating multiple times when she posted bookmarks to her blog, she was sharing her finds by posting links saved in Delicious to her blog automatically (which is something you can also do with Diigo—I do it). Silvia shares some really amazing stuff, and I hate to think of that vast resource of hers disappearing into the ether. I really hope she switches to Diigo, so I can follow her there.

I think what went wrong with Yahoo and Delicious is that Yahoo didn’t understand Delicious’s potential. I told my husband when we were talking about it that the only Yahoo service that would generate a larger outcry if it were shut down is Flickr. I think it’s sad that Yahoo never “got” Delicious. I think Yahoo’s problem for years has been that they don’t understand the potential of the products they acquire and develop, and they focus on the wrong things. They’ve just laid off a large number of employees. This article notes that “This marks the fourth time in three years that Yahoo has resorted to mass firings to boost its earnings.” I think that strategy speaks for itself.

So what would I do if I still used Delicious? I’d switch to Diigo, but I would also try to figure out a way to prevent losing my bookmarks in the future should anything happen to Diigo. ReadWriteWeb has some good articles about the loss of Delicious:

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Blogging Tools: Beyond Content Management

ToolboxIf you have a blog and have already chosen a platform (if need help with this, click here or here), this post might just make some aspects of your blog richer for you and your readers.

  1. Apture
    Apture works with any publishing platform, and it’s easy to install. It allows you to make your site more interactive. For instance, you can embed popup links to Wikipedia articles and Amazon merchandise. This site uses Apture. What do you think?
  2. Delicious or Diigo
    You can share your links with readers by programming your Delicious or Diigo account to post links to your blog. Although I have my Diigo links in the sidebar, many readers who only read my posts via RSS might not see them, so I decided to start posting them to the blog. I hope the links will prove helpful and interesting. You can find instructions for posting links via Diigo here and for Delicious here (you’ll need to be logged in to your Diigo or Delicious account).
  3. Share What You’re Reading
    Many reading social networks have widgets you can embed in your website. For instance, I am a fan of Goodreads and have a widget on the left that displays the last few books I’ve read along with my starred rating of that book. However, other networks like Shelfari have similar widgets. I also have a plugin called Now Reading, which only works with WordPress, that displays what I’m currently reading in the sidebar.
  4. coComment
    It’s easy to leave a comment and forget to check back to see if you have a response, but coComment can help you keep track of the comments you leave and the responses you receive. If you use Firefox, you can download a browser extension that will make using coComment even easier.
  5. Photo Dropper
    If you use WordPress, Photo Dropper is a plugin that allows you to easily find Flickr photos with Creative Commons licenses to share in your posts.
  6. Twitter
    Many ways of integrating Twitter with your blog exist. I use a WordPress plugin called Twitter Tools that is flexible. It allows users create blog posts from my tweets (I choose not to), display tweets in my sidebar (which I do), and notify via Twitter when I update my blog (which I also do). Twitter also has instructions for badges and widgets. TwiTip has gathered together some resources for other Twitter badges.
  7. iPhone Apps
    If you like to blog about iPhone apps or make recommendations for the same, you might find AppsFire‘s widget fun. It enables you to create a javascript widget to display the apps of your choice.
  8. Feedburner
    Google’s Feedburner gives you more control over and information about your RSS feeds. You can find out how many subscribers you have, what RSS reader they use, and the Feedburner Feedsmith plugin for WordPress will help you integrate your Feedburner feed seamlessly.

If you have a favorite blog tool, please share it in the comments.

Creative Commons License photo credit: StevenBrisson

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Moving from Delicious to Diigo

I have been a Delicious user for nearly four years.  I love it that I no longer lose my bookmarks and can take them with me from computer to computer.  I love it that I can share my bookmarks with others and tag them according to a folksonomy that makes sense to me and enables others to find them.  I have no intention of closing my Delicious account, but I have exported my Delicious bookmarks to Diigo.  I also set up my Diigo account to post my new Diigo bookmarks to Delicious for users who know me better over there, so you don’t have to change a thing if you are subscribed to my Delicious bookmarks.  You’ll still get new bookmarks.

It isn’t that I have any problems with Delicious at all; it’s just that Diigo is more versatile.  Using the Diigo toolbar, I can annotate Web pages that I visit.  Finally, users can mark up the Web like they mark up other reading they do.  Annotation allows me to comment on what I see, interact with other commenters, or simply take notes.  The toolbar also allows me to automatically save and/or e-mail links.  Delicious allows for the same type of sharing, but it lacks the annotation component.  Therefore, you will now see my latest Diigo bookmarks in the sidebar, courtesy a linkroll widget Diigo provides.  I am also able to easily share bookmarks with groups, which I have begun doing, as I am a member of Diigo in Education, English Teachers, and Interactive Whiteboards in the Classroom groups at Diigo.  I was even able to create a group for my students.  It’s invitation-only, but all the links I post to that group will be saved to my bookmarks, too.  I think you can see the group, but you won’t be able to join it or post to it unless I invite you, and in order to make this place my students’ own, I have decided to invite only students.

You will have to decide whether Diigo or Delicious is better for you.  I have nothing but positive things to say about either social bookmarking system, but the good news is that you don’t have to choose one over the other to keep up with my bookmarks.  With Diigo, I can crosspost, and you won’t miss a thing.

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Stuff for English Teachers

I recently started using StumbleUpon (here’s my profile) in my Firefox browser to discover new sites, and I feel stupid for not trying it before now. Poking around the Internet for the last week or so, I have “stumbled” upon some good sites (and found some on my own):

  • Read Print has online books. I like the Shakespeare section. I did notice a few typos on the site (Hamnet Shakespeare died in 1596, not 1896), but the articles were interesting.
  • I’ve probably mentioned DailyLit before, but it merits mention alongside Read Print. I don’t think I could have finished Moby Dick if not for DailyLit. I am currently reading Emma. All of us have five minutes for a book each day.
  • Guide to Grammar and Writing has some interesting grammar activities; I found it via SMART’s English/Language Arts Resources.
  • NCTE Inbox is now a blog! I missed the inception when I let my NCTE membership lapse.
  • What Should I Read Next? looks like a great tool for teachers to recommend to students who are looking for books similar to ones they already like.
  • BookMooch enables users to swap books.  It’s free (except for postage).
  • Here’s a huge collection of writing resources.

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