March is Social Media Month for the Blog Improvement Project, and the first task is to write about how you use a social media tool to improve your blog. I thought about writing on a bunch of different things, but finally decided to write about Delicious because it is one of the only tools I use specifically related to my blog.
What is Delicious?
Basically, Delicious is “a social bookmarking service,” which is essentially a way for users to bookmark, tag, and share websites they find online. By being community-oriented, Delicious lets users see what other people are reading based on topic or other connections.
How do you get started on Delicious?
Delicious is very easy to use. Once you create an account, you’re ready to start making bookmarks. Delicious has a few neat features that help make it more than just a place for storing your favorites (which is easy to do in just your internet browser).
One feature is tags, which are just words or phrases you attach to sites you save. When you’re looking for a particular page, you can search by your tag list to help you find it. You can also explore tags other people use to find sites and articles on similar topics. If you go to my profile and click on the tag 2009-bip you can see all of the articles I’ve linked to in previous BIP topics. You can also subscribe to different tags, although I haven’t tried this yet.
Delicious also lets you develop a network, so you can read articles that other people are reading. I have networks with a couple of my journalism professors, which often leads to journalism stories I wouldn’t usually find. I’m also networked with Anastasia of the Birdbrain(ed) Book Blog — she posts a lot about ebooks and publishing, other topics not always on my radar.
How can you use Delicious for blogging?
One of the best uses for Delicious is to keep track of articles or topics I want to blog about. I started using it to remember articles I came across that I thought would make good BIP resources or inspired an idea for a project idea. I quickly expanded it to bookmark reviews I like, articles that inspire me to write blog posts, or just things I find interesting. I hope that people who follow my Delicious page are exposed to some new ideas or topics they might not have read.
Just a few weeks ago I realized you can put descriptions with each of your bookmarks, so now I make a point to do that. I think it helps a reader figure out what the link is and if they’d like to read it. Here are a couple more posts that talk about ways to use Delicious: “11 Ways to Use Delicious for Getting Things Done” or “How to use Delicious Like a Pro.”
What are some nifty Delicious tricks and tips?
If you use Mozilla Firefox as your web browser, you can also download this handy Delicious Bookmarks Add-On, which makes it easy to save articles and posts while you read online. Like the picture shows, it adds a small set of buttons next to the address bar — if you click the “Tag” button, it opens a pop-up where you can enter some info about the site and save it to your bookmarks.
If you’re a WordPress user, you can add a Delicious widget to your sidebar that displays some number of your most recently tagged articles. I added one and like it a lot because it shows people who come across my blog some of the other things I read and find interesting. This is another way I try to connect what I’m doing on Delicious with what I do on my blog.