Pinterest or Delicious: Social Bookmarking Coming back as Digital Curation

by Amy Sample Ward on February 27, 2012

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Lately, we’ve watched as images – from photos to infographics – have taken over the web. As photos take over Facebook newsfeeds and Pinterest explodes, I see so many people trying to accomodate an image-centric process into their digital curation. Have I lost you yet with all the buzz words and slang? Stick with me. My point is, for nonprofits at least, not every story has an image; sometimes what is incredible is the larger story we pull together or the context and annotation we can give to news and events. In the craze over Pinterest, I think people have overlooked the evolution social bookmarking site Delicious has made. In my opinion, it is the superior curation platform. This is why:

A Thousand Words Without a Photo

We know the old saying that a photo is worth a thousand words. But, when it comes to Pinterest, a social bookmarking site exploding with attention lately, it doesn’t matter if you have a thousand words or not, without a photo, you can’t save your favorite sites and pages. For example, like many on Pinterest, I’m a female that has a board for fashion I like. Many of my favorite online stores have cute dresses I’d like to save to my board (obviously, that’s why they are my favorite stores); unfortunately, Pinterest isn’t able to identify the image when I provide the page URL. As such, I’m out of luck: I can’t pin the dress and share with my friends on Pinterest.

Alternatively, all I need on Delicious is the URL and I can save it. Not only can I save it privately or publicly (like Pinterest), I can also save it to any tags or keywords that I choose in addition or instead of saving it to a stack (the term used on the platform in the same way Pinterest uses “board”). And, whether or not the page even has an image I can still save the link and I can even add context or notes.

Sharing is Caring

On Pinterest, the sharing aspect of content hinges on repinning something to your own board, and, unless you create the board as one that allows contributors, you are creating content in your own silo. You can “like” and comment on pins, or automate your pinning to post to Facebook, for example, but that is the extent to the social capabilities of the network.

On Delicious, your stacks can be created by yourself or with contributors in a similar way, but even if they are closed to only you, others can still suggest links to be included, helping you crowdsource content without losing control, so to speak, of the content itself. You can also comment on individual bookmarks or on the stacks as a whole – something I am consistently wishing I could do on Pinterest. Because Delicious is built on a history of many years as a social bookmarking platform, it has great resources for the social sharing built in, including:

  • View all other users who saved the same link and the comments or notes they left about it to their own accounts
  • Find other users based on content tags or stacks
  • Share specific bookmarks or stacks via Facebook or Twitter, or even email

Browsing is the new Reading

One criticism I’ve seen consistently from new Pinterest users is that it is visually overwhelming. You look at a board that is filled with wedding dress options, for example, and it’s hard for our minds to sort the maybes from the yes as there’s just so much going on.  I really appreciate the more streamlined user experience that Delicious offers as well. It even provides options to view the bookmarks that are multimedia or video separately, to view all bookmarks just as links and notes, or in the full view. Here is an example:

This is my Delicious stack for Nonprofit Technology Infographics:

 

And here is Beth Kanter’s Pinterest board for Nonprofit Technology Infographics:

 

And for one last example, here is a stack that isn’t image-centric, my stack for Nonprofit Technology Case Studies:

I do think Delicious could improve with custom URL options, for example, but overall I think it is a much better platform for the goals of content curation and social bookmarking. What do you think? Would love to hear your thoughts!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Beth-Kanter/504747699 Beth Kanter

    Amy thanks for linking to pinterest board.  I think there is a distinction between curation and social bookmarking.   Most of the users on pinterest are really curating — curating is knowing the topic, selecting only the best, describing, annotating, organizing, and then engaging with people around the collection.    I don’t see a lot of that on pinterest except for the curator community .. many of whom curate over at scoop.it.    And, as a response to requests, integrating the two platforms more easily.    

    • http://amysampleward.org Amy Sample Ward

      Hey Beth-

      Thanks for your feedback! I’m kind of confused by your comment but think I may be reading it wrong. I don’t see many examples of the kind of curation you are defining happening on Pinterest – people aren’t necessarily knowledgeable of the topic and there is very little annotating happening. By and large, at least from all that I can see, people are putting things that strike them or they like onto their boards and most are just the images with the automatic source link (often just to a repin). I definitely see Scoop.it as a great curation tool for the options that users can create topical spaces and make annotations. I think Delicious is one up on both by the fact that the content you are saving isn’t tied to a board/stack/etc. That’s where finding content and other users really becomes networked.
      Thanks again for weighing in!

      • http://www.iserotope.com/ Mark

        I agree with you, Amy, about Pinterest. I think people are using it just to collect images they like, not necessarily to curate “the best of.” Bookmarking and curating seem related, where bookmarking is mostly personal (even when it’s social) and curating is mostly public. There are so many options now, and I feel like the services (Delicious, Diigo, Annotary, Scoop.it, Snip.it, Bundlr, Clipboard, Springpad, Pinterest, Evernote) often overlap.

  • http://internationalpatentservice.com/trademarkapplication.html TRADEMARK APPLICATION

    Information graphics or infographics are graphic visual representations of information, data or knowledge. These graphics present complex information quickly and clearly,[1] such as in signs, maps, journalism, technical writing, and education. With an information graphic, computer scientists, mathematicians, and statisticians develop and communicate concepts using a single symbol to process information.

  • Pingback: Curation - Industry | Pearltrees

  • Lori

    Amy – great post. I couldn’t agree more!  We’ve just created a new resource – Apricot Jam (http://www.wildapricot.com/apricot-jam)- to replace our community site – Association Jam. We curate and filter content using Delicious and have a feed embedded in our Wild Apricot website linking to the stacks we’ve created.

    • http://amysampleward.org Amy Sample Ward

      Thanks for the example, Lori! I love seeing organizations create valuable resources on their site by leveraging tools like delicious!

  • Guest

    UGH, this whole topic just sickens me!  Not that what you have said isn’t something worth thinking about, but I just don’t understand why there is any issue at all, with any sort of social netoworking – leave social to being social – “SOCIAL”

    The way I see it, is any type if social networking is no different from expressing something we like, enjoy, are curious about, etc – from our home, one-on-once conversations, thoughts, feelings, etc.

    Are you next going to tell me that because I love a certain artist, I can’t hang their painting in my home because if others see it, I might be fined for sharing it socially?  Or will I no longer be able to play a CD if I have “friends” around because the can hear it and therefore I’m sharing it socially?

    This is ridiculous – only good things come from social sharing.  How many companies and individuals careers have sky-rocketed from networking – word of mouth, etc etc….

    If anything, social networks are giving free miles, free exposure, free advertisement…  it doesn’t stop, and you’re getting it all for nothing. 

    And I have to stop that bit there… 

    But lastly – it all boils down to greed.  When we become greedy, all good things become clouded.  It’s a demolition propelled by greed, it doesn’t matter what reasoning is in the path, it will destroy itself.

    • http://amysampleward.org Amy Sample Ward

      I am all about social sharing! That’s why content I publish on this blog is licensed through Creative Commons to be free and shared alike. The aspects of the terms of service that have people worried about Pinterest is that they include language about selling content on Pinterest. You may be in support of social sharing, but you may not want Pinterest making money off of your work that you wanted to provide for free to the world.

  • http://amysampleward.org Amy Sample Ward

    Pinterest has just updated their terms of service with some important changes, including: “Our original Terms stated that by posting content to Pinterest you grant Pinterest the right for us to sell your content. Selling content was never our intention and we removed this from our updated Terms.”

    http://blog.pinterest.com/post/19799177970/pinterest-updated-terms

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