Social Bookmarking Sites by dfhercbml


									                               Social Bookmarking Sites.
In the below I will detail a number of the most popular and potentially most useful social bookmarking
sites for openlearn. Where possible I will include details of the number of recommendations required to
make the front page as well as information on the effect that such presence might have to visitor
numbers. I will also suggest ways in which individual sites, or groups of sites, might be used within

There are very few `authoritative’ studies into the effects that social bookmarking sites have upon website
traffic and very little information available on the demographics of the users of such sites. One of the few
studies available can be found on

In light of this lack of information, much of what is detailed below has been taken from studies undertaken
by individuals who are not engaged in traditional research activity. Details of the various effects upon
traffic are similarly taken from investigations undertaken by individuals based on their experiences on
their own sites. All figures should therefore be considered indicative rather than authoritative.

        Delicious      Digg      Reddit      Fark      Furl      Newsvine       CiteULike

                                        Connotea       Muti
About is a collection of favourites or bookmarks used by individuals and groups to keep links to
favourite web resources, share these resources with the community, and discover new

Delicious allows users to access or add bookmarks from any computer, and organise them through tags.

The Effect

    Delicious users view their selected pages as a resource that they might return to again and again. A
 Delicious user makes a commitment to a when they add it to their collection of links, most likely because
it provides a benefit to them. Other Delicious users become aware that commitment, and the site gains in
                 credibility due to that social proof, which often leads to more bookmarks.

Each bookmark on a Delicious user’s page is a separate link on a separate web page. Moreover, those
links are classified by tags which define their overall relevance, much like normal link anchor text does.
Success Requirements

On 31 January 2007, the highest number of bookmarks for a site on the front page (`hotlist’) of Delicious
with was 3,149 (second highest was 167), and the lowest was 102 (which actually featured at the top of
the page) Demographics

Hitwise has reported that over 40% of visitors to have been between the ages of 24 to 34, with
a large skew towards users with incomes above $100k per year. The majority of Delicious users fall
within the `Urban Uptown’, and `Elite Suburb’ demographics. Sampling over 10 million U.S internet users,
Hitwise discovered nearly 36% of those visiting the site made between $100k to $150k each year,
compared to 13% of the online population.

To add button


Openlearn should consider adding Delicious buttons to the top level unit pages, as well as to the home
page, and the front pages of both learningspace and LabSpace.
Because users who add these sites to their Delicious accounts have already recognised them as useful
resources they are more likely to also sign up for the newsletter, subscribe to RSS feeds, participate in
the forums, and generally contribute to the growth of the community around the project. Users of social
bookmarking sites generally tend to be more `tech-savvy’, and this might suggest a higher likelihood to
engage with remixing materials found in LabSpace.
The demographic of Delicious users suggests that it might not help towards the widening participation
agenda, but does suggest that users are in positions of reasonable authority and perhaps in a position to
consider the use of openlearn within their own spheres of influence.


Sites that appear on Digg do so because they have been submitted by the Digg community. After an
article has been submitted other users read it in the `upcoming stories’ section and `Digg’ what they like
best. Once a submission has earned a critical mass of Diggs, it becomes `popular’ and jumps to the
homepage in its category. If it becomes one of the most popular, it qualifies as a `Top 10’ (if a submission
doesn’t receive enough Diggs within a certain time period, it eventually falls out of the `Upcoming’

Stories appearing on Digg can be emailed to friends (Diggers or non-Diggers) and friend lists can be built
to allow users’ friends to track what they’re Digging. RSS feeds of users’ submissions and/or their Diggs
can also be set up.

The Digg Effect

         An article making the front page of Digg affects everything from the obvious such as traffic to the
          not so obvious like new RSS subscribers and dedicated readers .


2 has reported the effects of four of their storied appearing on the Digg front page between July
1st-July 10th, 2006. Nearly 87% of visitors to CybernetNews on July 1st (the date of the first article to be dugg)
          Digg users do not click ads.
          Digg traffic does not generate new users, comments, or posts. Digg users often comment
           regarding a site on Digg itself instead of on the dugg website.
          The best Digg post regarding a topic is not always the one that reaches the front page.
          After a site is highlighted on the Digg front page, it will start showing up in the other social
           bookmarking systems soon.

Trends in Digg Stories which make the front page4

          Make A List or Tutorial Headline. In the past year, a `top 10’ or `top 100’ list has made the front
           page on average once every other day.
          Write about Digg. In the past year, stories with `Digg’ in the submission have made the front
           page 554 times and mentioned Kevin Rose (the founder of Digg) by name an average of once a
          Write about Global Warming. A science story about Global Warming will make the front page
           of Digg on average of once a week.
          Mention Firefox. In the past year, a Firefox story has made the front page on average once
           every day. All four of the Cybernet News stories mentioned above were directly related to Firefox.

Success Requirements

On 31 January 2007, the highest number of Diggs for a site on the front page (`news’) of Digg was 676,
and the lowest was forty-two (which actually featured at the top of the page)

Digg Demographics5

Based on a survey of 7,298 Digg users the following demographics were identified:

          69.94% [ 5069 ] <14
          5.56% [ 403 ] 15-20
          9.96% [ 722 ] 21-25
          7.46% [ 541 ] 26-30
          3.73% [ 270 ] 31-35
          3.35% [ 243 ] 36>

The geographical location of Digg users has been identified as :

          US = 61%.
          Canada = 8.4%. page of Digg on average of once a week.
          UK = 7.1%.
          Australia 3.8%.
          Germany 1.3%.
          Netherlands 1.1%.
          France 0.9%.

came through Digg. This first article peaked with about 2,500 visits for the hour, with traffic remaining steady
afterwards and as of July 14, 2006 had attracted over 24,000 page views. Page views combined for all four articles
totalled nearly 150,000.

 Taken from

    Taken from


          India 0.8.
          All others 15.6%

To add button


See the discussion of Digg, Reddit, Fark and Furl below


Reddit allows its users to post links to content on the web. Other users may then vote the posted links up
or down, causing them to appear more or less prominently on the Reddit home page. Users who submit
articles which are liked and subsequently voted up receive `karma’.

The Reddit Effect

Anecdotal evidence from shows that a post which reached number ten on Reddit received
900 visits in a single hour, and overall received 7,980 visitors from Reddit.

Geographically these users were spread:

          64% from the US.
          8% from Canada.
          7% from the UK.
          3% from Australia.
          2% from Germany.
          17% unknown.

Before the Reddit submission LifeDev had no users signed up for RSS feeds from its site. After thirteen
hours of Reddit presence there were 217 subscriptions. There were only two people sign up for the
newsletter however.

Eighteen people added the story to their accounts and seven more bookmarked the site.
Technorati detailed 8 links from around the net.


73.6% of Reddit users are over 35.


See the discussion of Digg, Reddit, Fark and Furl below.

8 (Source: Comscore Media Metrix, December 2006)

Fark is a community website that allows its users to comment on a daily batch of news articles and other
items from various websites. Links are submitted by Fark members, which are then approved for posting
on the main page by administrators.

Fark articles are tagged by submitters (e.g. stupid, interesting, dumbass) and these tags are displayed
prominently alongside a headline and a link to a forum to discuss that specific article. The number of
comments the story has attracted can be seen next to the story and are available for all to read.

The Fark Effect9

During all of 1999, Fark got 50,000 pageviews.

During all of 2004, Fark got over 400 million pageviews. In 2006 Fark delivered more than 1.7 million
page views on weekdays.


        Under 18: 1.7%.
        19-25: 26%.


See the discussion of Digg, Reddit, Fark and Furl below.


Furl allows its members to bookmark, annotate, and share sites. 'topics' are used to categorise saved
sites and users have the option of assigning each bookmark a rating (ratings vary from 1 [Bad] to 5

Furl also archives a copy of each page that a user bookmarks, making it accessible even if the original
content is modified or removed. This archived copy is visible only to the member who bookmarked the
site however. Other users are directed to the publisher's site, where the content can be viewed depending
on membership requirements.

Add a furl button


Digg, Reddit, Fark and Furl are not likely to deliver the same amount of users who might register on
openlearn or engage in the various community aspects of the site, but the trade off is that of quantity
against quality. The above mentioned four sites are very capable of delivering huge numbers of visitors
in response to a carefully created article. If openlearn is interested in increasing user numbers but

prepared to accept that those coming from these four sites are likely to be once off visitors, then they are
definitely worth including on the site. These visitors might also help with the widening participation
I would suggest that buttons for Digg, Reddit, Fark and Furl are included on the openlearn home page,
LabSpace, learningspace, and top level unit pages (what harm can it do?), but the most benefit is likely
to come from buttons placed next to individual news stories in the news section. There should also be a
prominent link to return to the openlearn homepage alongside these stories.


Newsvine is a website consisting of community-driven news stories and opinions. As well as saving their
favourite links, Newsvine users can also contribute their own articles. In these articles Newsvine users
can include their own photographs or photographs uploaded from Flikr under a Creative Commons

Users who enjoy reading an article/seed or agree with its content are encouraged to vote for the content.
Articles and seeds with the most votes appear in the `Top Wire’, `Top Seeds’, or `Top of the Vine’
sections of the site.

Success Requirements

On 1 February 2007 the story with the most votes in the top wire category had sixteen votes (the second-
placed article had one vote). The remaining four articles had no votes.

On the same date in the `top of the vine’ section, under the `last 24 hours’ tab, the top story had fifty
votes, whilst the lowest had ten votes (when viewed twenty-five entries to a page).

Add button code


Although I am unable to find the demographics of Newsvine users, the site looks and feels more refined
than many of the other sites discussed above. Primarily a source of news and discussion I would suggest
that Newsvine buttons appear only within the openlearn news section.

   Hints on how to create successful Newsvine articles can be found at
                            Academic Bookmarking Sites



CiteULike is a free service to help academics to share, store, and organise the academic papers they are
reading. When users see a paper on the web that is of interest it can be added to their CiteULike library.
Citation details are automatically extracted by CiteULike.

At the moment the database is dominated by biological and medical papers, but there is no reason why
other subjects should not also appear. General websites can be posted to CiteULike, but non peer-
reviewed articles are not displayed as prominently.

Add a CiteULike button -


See discussion of CiteULike and Connotea below.



Connotea is a free online reference management service for scientists, researchers, and clinicians. It is
aimed primarily at scientists (though the user community is rapidly growing throughout academic
disciplines), and while users may bookmark any webpage they choose, it incorporates special
functionality for certain academic resources.

When saving an article to Connotea, users tag the article with keywords of their choice. The system
recognises users who are bookmarking the same papers or using the same keywords, and alerts them to
potentially related material.

Connotea also provides RSS feeds, allowing users to keep track of articles posted under interesting tags
or by users with similar interests.


If it is possible to add openlearn top level unit pages to these two sites I think that there is value in doing
so. These two sites attract an almost entirely different audience to any of the sites discussed above. The
users generated from these sites will be those engaged in academia and will hopefully therefore be more
likely to engage with the material within LabSpace and might also be able to raise awareness of
openlearn within their areas of speciality. From a research perspective it might be of interest to track the
visitors from these sites in order to understand how they are using the site.

Will course unit descriptions be used in place of academic paper citations?

                                        International Site



Muti is a social bookmarking site dedicated to content of interest to Africans or those interested in Africa.

Registered users submit links to news stories, articles or any item of interest. Other users have the
opportunity of voting these submissions up or down.

Muti can be viewed to show `hot’ articles (based on the number of votes an article receives within a
certain period of time), `new’ articles, `top’ articles (total votes and the total number of times the article
has been viewed), `most liked’ (the best balance of liked and disliked votes), and `most viewed’.

Success Requirements

On the front page on 1 February 2007, the story with the highest score had 372, and the front page story
with the lowest score had fifteen.


I think that it is worth including Muti within the site, especially because it demonstrates an international
awareness, and might also help towards the widening participation agenda. I would suggest that Muti
buttons are included on the openlearn home page, the LabSpace and learningspace front pages, top
level unit pages and also in the openlearn news section.

                          Other Social Bookmarking Sites
There are a number of other social bookmarking sites that are not yet as well known. Further information
about these can be found through the links below.

   Bibsonomy           Blinkbits        Blinklist       Blogmarks         Co.mments

           Magnolia       Netscape         Netvous        Scuttle       Shadows         StumbleUpon

                                          Tailrank       YahooMyWeb


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