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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My Favorite Tools

Day 79/365: ToolboxIf you’re looking to try out some tools to make teaching, sharing, discussing ideas, and planning easier, you might want to check out some of these tools.

Twitter

I you want to ask a quick question or have a conversation, there’s nothing as efficient as Twitter. It’s also a quick way to get the word out about blog posts or other projects. Many people have it running in the background using a client such as Tweetdeck, Hootsuite, Nambu, or Seesmic. I was skeptical about Twitter until I tried it. I think it’s one of those things you will have to try out for yourself in order to see its potential. It can be as useful as the people you follow. I have a great personal learning network on Twitter.

Diigo

I first started using Delicious a few years ago because Firefox kept losing my bookmarks. I became so aggravated by this bug that I decided at least with Delicious, I could have my bookmarks with added benefit that they are available on any computer. A couple of years ago, I switched to Diigo for two reasons: 1) it has the added capabilities of annotation, groups, and easy integration with my blog; and 2) I can integrate it with my Delicious account, so there’s no need to leave any of my Delicious subscribers high and dry.

Firefox

Though Firefox is perhaps not the fastest browser, its array of plugins enable me to customize my browsing.

WordPress

I use WordPress to manage the content on all of my blogs. Elegant theme designs and plugins add functionality. I’ve tried Blogger and Movable Type, and I found WordPress superior to both.

iPhone

As the commercials proclaim, if you can think of something you want to do, there’s an app for that. My iPhone helps me manage my to-do list, my Diigo bookmarks, and my Goodreads account. I also have the complete works of Shakespeare and a great many other books in my pocket. I can keep track of gas expenses and find the cheapest gas nearby. I can manage my grocery list or look up first aid information. I can check TV listings, listen to music, or take pictures. The two most recent apps I downloaded enable me to create packing lists and see what’s down the road at the next few exits.

Evernote

I haven’t used Evernote very long, but I recently planned my entire trip to Salem using it, and I found it incredibly handy. You can clip and save websites and take notes. I am only beginning to explore Evernote’s capabilities. Be sure to check out their blog post on the Evernote trunk and see how a former student of mine uses Evernote.

Google Reader

Google Reader helps me keep up with all the blogs I read. I would never be able to keep track of my favorite blogs without it.

Facebook

Despite some bad press from what I believe are some poor decisions about privacy on the part of Facebook, I still use it to stay connected to my family and friends. Most of my friends and family are not on Twitter, but they are all pretty much on Facebook. It’s an easy way to share news, photos, and videos.

Wikispaces

I haven’t found another wiki service that’s friendlier to educators or easier to use than Wikispaces. I use it for all the wikis I create now.

Ning

I won’t use Ning for my classes anymore because of the changes to their pricing scheme, but I very much enjoy the English Companion Ning and the Making Curriculum Pop Ning as tools to help me share and learn.

What are your favorite tools?

Creative Commons License photo credit: fran.pregernik

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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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