One of the newest ways to interact with the rest of the web is with social bookmarking. But what is social bookmarking, and how is it affecting the way people use the internet and find new websites? Can your law firm actually make use of social bookmarking, or is it a fad that will fade away quickly? What is social bookmarking going to look like in the future, and how can you plan for it? This guide will answer all of your questions about social bookmarking so that you can start planning out which websites to post your social bookmarks on.
What is Social Bookmarking: History and Definitions
When web browsers started appearing in the mid-1990s, one of the first features they added was bookmarking. Bookmarks allowed people to come back to a favorite URL again and again without needing to write down or memorize the web address of a particular website. These bookmarks were stored in a file on your computer that was kept with the browser application you were using. That bookmarking functionality stayed basically the same for about a decade.
In the mid-2000s, a new type of bookmarking appeared: social bookmarking. Now, instead of just storing bookmarks on your own computer, you can actually store them on websites. What's more, instead of keeping your bookmarks to yourself, these websites allow you to share them with other users. Social bookmarking sites also often let users determine whether a submission is good or bad, and promote it or demote it accordingly.
What is Social Bookmarking Used For?
If you're going to start to use social bookmarks as part of your marketing strategy, you should know what is social bookmarking being used for by marketers. One of the best parts about social bookmarking is that it can generate high quality, high PageRank inbound links that will make your search engine optimization efforts more successful. Google and other search engines base your search rankings in part on the quality of your inbound links, so it's very important to have links coming from websites that are popular and authoritative—which many social bookmarking sites are.
Another answer to the question of “what is social bookmarking used for?” is that you can actually draw in new clients and business with social bookmarks. If you're using the right websites and making contextual links to quality content, your linking could actually help you to score a new case.
Keep in mind that if you're not creating quality original content, it may not be very beneficial for you to use social bookmarking websites. What is social bookmarking if not a way to show good content to others? If your content could use improvement, work on that before starting to post your links to it.
General Social Bookmarking Websites
Some types of social bookmark websites are made to accept just about any type of link there is, and just about any legal practice can post links that would be relevant to their viewers. For example, right now, there's no trendier site for social bookmarks than Reddit.com. What is social bookmarking with Reddit? After making an account on the website (a process that takes only a minute), you can start posting links to your content immediately to a wide variety of “subreddits,” each of which is related to a different topic. You might want to use a subreddit like “law” for your post, or you might post it in a more general subreddit like “news” or “politics.”
Other general social bookmarking sites include Digg, StumbleUpon, and Delicious. These websites are all different in their approach and interface, but serve the same purpose. You can feel free to post the same content to several different social bookmark sites rather than just using a piece of content on a single website.
Specialized Social Bookmarking Websites
What is social bookmarking that is specialized, and what is it useful for? Let's say that you work in the field of intellectual property litigation. Instead of posting something to a general social bookmarking website like Reddit or StumbleUpon, you might want to try your hand at getting a story onto one of the most popular technology oriented social bookmarking websites: Slashdot.
Now, keep in mind, if you're able to get a story posted to one of these websites and it makes it to the front page, your website may get hammered—an effect originally known as the “Slashdot effect.” Be sure that your web hosting provider is capable of providing the hosting you need before you start making posts to social bookmarking sites.
Social Bookmarking Etiquette
What is social bookmarking etiquette? In brief, every website that you use for social bookmarking will have its own way of doing things—and those ways can be very, very different. Don't jump right in and post content onto a site that you've barely read or have never participated in before. Get a personal account first, post a few comments, get comfortable with the website and the people on it. Only then will you be properly equipped and knowledgeable about the etiquette that guides members of that website. This will give you a much better chance of being listened to and having your link accepted as part of the community.
Why Social Bookmarking Is Here To Stay
One of the things many people don't seem to understand is what is social bookmarking's appeal? Well, part of that appeal—and part of why social bookmarking sites have staying power—is that they become communities all of their own, with their own personalities, quirks, and moral codes. This gives people a very strong sense of identity and belonging with the website.
This is why it's a good idea to choose a few social bookmarking sites and really get acquainted with how they do things. It's better to post only to a few websites but to post with quality, relevant posts than it is to spam every social bookmark site that you can find with the exact same content, whether it's relevant or not.