Introduction to Social Bookmarking

One of the beautiful things about Twitter and social networking is that the network of people shares an abundance of amazing resources. The problem is that when you have such a firehose of information shooting at you is that it becomes hard to focus on just the information you want. This phenonenon is quite common with students. For 6 or 7 hours a day, students are often bombarded with information. Sometimes, they have teachers that vary from this model, but I think the teacher presenting information is still the most common mode of instruction, even if it is not the most effective.
Most people recognize that despite how much we may want them to, students do not have perfect memory. So, what do we do? We give them a system. We teach them how to take notes, how to process the information, and how to discern what is important.
We need to do the same for ourselves. The wonderful people I follow share so many good resources. While I would love to be able to remember all of them, I cannot. So, I have a system that lets me organize the information so I can easily locate it or recall it whenever I need it.
Social bookmarking is the system that I use to efficiently organize and process the information and links I come across on a daily basis. It is a fairly easy first-step into building your own PLN. It is a simple idea really. When you find a good website or resource online, you will most likely
bookmark it in your web browser. You may have heard it referred to as adding it to yourfavorites. As you browse the web, you naturally want to save things, to catalog and organize it so that it makes sense to you. This is beneficial to you because you have access to a list of sites that work well for you whenever you need them, as long as they are at your computer. This is bookmarking in a nutshell. Social bookmarking just adds another layer fairly simple layer that makes bookmarking much more powerful. Your bookmarks are public (although you can choose to make individual bookmarks private if you wish) and saved to a website instead of to your Internet browser. There are many ways that social bookmarking can improve your experience of the Internet as well as add to that of others.
Currently, if you use traditional bookmarks to keep track of websites, your bookmarks are tied to your web browser. If you have two web browsers, such as Internet Explorer and Firefox, for example, you may only have your bookmarks in 1 of them. So, you are limited in a sense even on your computer. If you have multiple computers, you may be stuck emailing links to yourself or not having a resource when you need it. Social bookmarking, because you are saving your bookmarks to a website, lets you access them easily from any web browser. Furthermore, because your bookmarks are no longer on your computer, you can access them from any computer. You can even access them from your iPod Touch and many cell phones. This makes life quite a bit simpler and often can save a lot of time that would otherwise be wasting trying to relocate the same resource twice.
The social aspect is where you choose to let your bookmarks be public. You do not have to, but making your bookmarks public allows other people to discover the resources that you find interesting. The way it works is that someone adds you to his or her network, then he or she can see it when you add a new bookmark (if you choose to make it public). Conversely, you can choose to add other people whose opinions you respect to your network so that you will see it when they add a new bookmark. Through this exchange, all teachers in a network are edified and helped.

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