I’ve been trying to get a better understanding of these social bookmark managers (+) that have been popping up recently. I finally took the plunge and tried a few (relatively) new ones out. The following services do not all fit in exactly the same category (re: purpose and functionality), but they often seem to be mentioned under the social bookmarking guise. I checked out furl, spurl, del.icio.us, memestreams and stumbleupon.
Furl.net: This was the first service I heard of (I’m a bit late onto these things). Furl describes itself as “a tool for saving, sharing and finding information”. The power of Furl really comes from it’s ease of use, and the social computing model. Years ago, I tried the early online bookmark managers such as mybookmarks.com, and I remember being quite impressed just with this basic technology … especially since I used multiple computers and could never really figure out a way to suitably organize my bookmarks. However, it never stuck for some reason. Furl takes this idea further as it allows you to easily to add bookmarks (through a bookmarklet or toolbar on the browser) and share your bookmarks (through RSS syndication). You can also easily categorize and describe each of your bookmarks. Great service … but is it the best?
Spurl.net: Spurl seems to be very much like Furl. Both are easy to use (through a bookmarklet), and I also like the idea that Spurl can recommend pages for you (Furl does this in a slightly different way). For some reason though, I can’t seem to delete or rename categories in Spurl. I could be wrong, but seems like a limitation for now … but I have to remember that this is still a Beta.
It’s tough to choose between Furl and Spurl right now, but I think I am going with Spurl because of it’s integration with del.icio.us.
Del.icio.us: First thing’s first: best URL name ever! Del.icio.us describes itself a social bookmarks manager … and it does well to post your bookmarks as you find them, in much of a blogging style. I really liked it at first, but I am finding it’s usefulness a bit less than Spurl or Furl. However, I do see del.icio.us as a great teacher tool. Many teachers I know create hotlists through something called Filamentality. And while Filamentality has it’s uses, it’s much more work to setup than something like del.icio.us. For a teacher setting up a few hotlinks for a particular class, there may be some potential here. (of course, there is with Furl and Spurl as well). And like I said earlier, Spurl and Furl are now easy to integrate, through this API.
For me, it’s Spurl for now … but I am still hoping that the service improves (and who knows what else will come along in the meantime).
Memestreams: Memestreams is a different entity together. Memestreams is a collaborative web blog, and takes the community approach much more seriously. Rather than a personal collection of bookmarks or stories, the collective thoughts are pooled. Mechanisms like a “reputation agent” and an “inbox” allows small groups of like-users to share information and stories. While I like the approach to this service, I think I am going to opt out for now. I think I am certainly suffering from information overload as it is.
StumbleUpon: This is yet another beast … different from all the others. When you sign-up, you are asked to add a toolbar to your browser where you are able to rate sites that you come across (or stumble upon). At first, StumbleUpon begins to categorize you on your specific interests. From that point, members in your category can recommend specific sites to you … depending on these shared interests. Also, you can find other ‘stumblers’ and classify them as friends … thus being able to tap in to a closer, and more selective group.
I like StumbleUpon … I think it has a bit more potential than Memestreams … but I think the space on my toolbar is just about running out. So many choices!
I am not sure if I did a great job at classifying all these different services (I need more time to get a better take on their effectiveness) … but if anyone uses any of these, or other similar services … I would love to hear your thoughts.