Delicious — the laudable social network that launched seven years ago and popularized the concept of social bookmarking — is slated to be shut down by Yahoo.
While social networks come and go, Delicious (née del.icio.us) will be particularly missed because it has been a constant presence in my life for several years now. I use it for both personal and professional reasons, as do millions of other users. Some of the various reasons I use the site are listed below (consider it a eulogy):
To research 10,000 Words posts
As I allude to in this post, I use Delicious both to bookmark interesting things I see on the web if I don’t quite now how to feature it yet and also to find interesting content others have bookmarked under a specific topic. For example, for a post earlier this year on how news media covered same-sex marriage, I searched Delicious for keywords like “gay,” “LGBT,” “interactive,” and “journalism” and found interesting projects that I otherwise would not have found.
Delicious is also useful for getting a sense of how others have tagged a particular link. For example, if you look at the Delicious link for 10,000 Words, you’ll see some of the popular tags for the site are “journalism,” “technology,” “multimedia,” etc., all very useful information for tailoring and creating future content.
To understand the tastes of others
I often raid the Delicious bookmarks of other users like Mindy McAdams, author of Flash Journalism, and Scot Hacker, webmaster at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism, to find links to content they think are interesting or cool. Because I trust their judgment, I know I will find always find some cool new tool or website.
My online portfolio always needs to be updated with new things I’m working and I, of course, can’t always do this immediately. I use Delicious to keep track of my work and it also enables me to easily share links with others.
Confession: I prefer buying things online rather than in stores, but because it is so easy to purchase things online, I sometimes bookmark potential purchases on Delicious as a sort of layaway plan. If I come back later and I still want the item, I purchase it. If not, I just delete the bookmark. A much better alternative to browser bookmarks which are front and center.
As I mentioned before, I keep a digital mood board (a folder on my computer) that contains interesting images, webpages, magazine tearsheets, and more that I use for inspiration. Saving a file on a computer is a static way of archiving online content, so I use Delicious to bookmark live websites, especially ones with interactive elements, and to also add notes to links that indicate why I found it interesting.
While there will inevitably be a slew of online tools that will try to fill the void in my online life left by Delicious
Oh God, why couldn’t it have been MySpace, it’s hard to let go of any tool that has been such a boon to my productivity and life.
Update: Based on several suggestions I have exported my bookmarks from Delicious and imported them into Pinboard, a less social bookmarking service. Pinboard charges a fee ($8.01 for me) to use its service and to defray operating costs.