I was offline most of yesterday, so didn't get the bad news until the evening when I saw a Facebook friend was looking for an alternative. It seems that one of my most-used, least lauded social media tools, Delicious, is about to go down the tubes.
Although I rarely am conscious of it, Delicious has probably been one of my most valuable resources. I've been using it since 2006, which feels like an eternity. It's safe to say that every day I'm on my laptop (which is most days), I tag and bookmark at least one item into it--which is why I currently have 7,000 items saved.
Aside from the items I tag for myself, I also use it as a way to point clients to information that they might find useful, doing this long after my contract with a client has ended because it's so easy to do. The ability to add notes, although I don't use it all the time, has also been helpful. I even used Delicious to create my own online portfolio. And Delicious has made it easy for me to access my bookmarks from any computer, helpful during presentations or if I'm working onsite for a client.
It's the social arena where it has really shined for me, though. My Delicious network is filled with great people who tag with the same fervor I do. They are often the source of articles I might otherwise not have found. Checking out what other people have bookmarked under the same tags has also been a tremendous resource.
In many ways, Delicious has represented for me the very best of social media. It solved several problems I had with the old way of doing work. Bookmarking, tagging and annotating items were easy to do, so I could easily adapt my work habits to incorporate it. The social aspects consistently brought me value. And all of it was free. Which, of course, is what has spelled its demise.
So today, I'm in mourning. Also in search of other options. At least I'm not alone--Marshall Kirkpatrick is also feeling down and his post makes me feel even worse as he describes some ways he used Delicious I'd never even considered. In RIP Delicious, Beth Kanter shares my sadness and also offers some alternatives, including Diigo, where I have an account but haven't been active for awhile. (Here's another article with some alternatives.)
In considering these, I'm going to have to think about what is most valuable to me in social bookmarking. If it's primarily about the tagging and saving of my own materials, something like Evernote could be my best bet. I've used the free version and it's really powerful, including providing the ability to read items offline. But it lacks the essential social element that is part of what made Delicious so useful to me. For the social piece, I might be better off with Diigo. We shall have to see.
In the meantime, I will be raising a glass to my dear departed friend, Delicious. If you're a Delicious fan, let me know what you're planning to do in the future. Would love to hear thoughts on other tools. I'm particularly interested in options that will allow me to import my Delicious items so I don't lose what I've already done.