A few days ago, I was checking out Nine Notable Uses for Social Bookmarking (read the article--there's stuff there you probably haven't considered before) and I was struck by number 6--build an online portfolio.
I personally believe that having an online portfolio is a critical work literacy skill and an important part of an overall online identity management strategy. So back in April I ran a webinar on using free online tools to create an online portfolio. At that time I was focused on creating a very structured, "beautiful" product, so I covered how to use wikis and blogs to construct a portfolio. However, the problem with that approach is that it requires a lot of work to continually update your portfolio, which means that you're less likely to do it. What you need is a way to easily and quickly add items to your portfolio that fits into work processes you already have set up.
What's intriguing about using social bookmarks (in my case, del.icio.us) to create an online portfolio is that it makes it much easier for me to update on a regular basis. As I create items online--wikis for a training, handouts, blog posts I want to share, Slideshare presentations, etc.--I can simply tag them with "michelemartinportfolio" and they'll automatically show up in my "portfolio" without me having to go through any extra steps of posting them to a wiki or a blog. Since I have del.icio.us integrated into my Firefox browser, all I have to do is right-click on the item, add a note describing it in the Notes section, and then tag it with my portfolio tag. Voila--my portfolio is updated!
Here's how it looks (I need to add more items though):
A couple of other comments on this:
- When you create a tag, you can also write a 1000 character description of your tag. That's how I created the description of my portfolio that you see at the top.
- The del.icio.us feature that shows how many other people saved the item acts as a kind of "recommendation" system. Presumably the more people who bookmarked it, the more valuable it is. If I have a lot of items that many people have bookmarked, this indicates that I'm providing some level of quality.
- If people sign up for the RSS feed to this tag, they can automatically be notified when I add new items to my portfolio. Think about how this could work in a work or classroom environment--you could have staff or students create portfolios by setting up their personal portfolio tag. You could then sign up to their tag feeds and receive automatic updates when items were added. Much easier way to keep track of things.
Although this isn't the prettiest portfolio in the world, I think it might be one of those "good enough" solutions that could have a lot of applications, both at work and for learning. For example, I could see creating an organizational portfolio using the same concept--that's the basic idea behind this "purpose-built" del.icio.us page from Shift Communications. You could also do this on a department or unit level. I'm sure there are other applications for this idea, too.
UPDATE--Here are more detailed written instructions for creating an e-portfolio with del.icio.us.
So what do you think? If you had a del.icio.us portfolio, would you be more likely to update it? And do you think there's value to having something like this?