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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