At the bottom of every blog post of mine is a green button asking you to Share This.
Do you click it?
One of the things that makes today’s web so special is the ability to share information and learn from others.
Ten years ago, let alone five, web content could not easily be shared between users. We had eBay, Craigslist, Amazon, some Yahoo Groups, Friendster, Classmates, and the Internet Movie Database. They remain in force today, and while all of them have transaction-based elements, none of them are social, not really.
The social networks we know today, if they existed then, are much greater in scope. Today’s Facebook, which everyone uses as a benchmark for other networks, is hardly representative of its capabilities in late 2004 when I joined. Facebook fan pages are a new phenomenon, for instance.
When Dave Winer blogged in the late 1990s and earlier this decade, you couldn’t click a button and share his content with your social networks. You can today.
If you click the green Share This button, you can share this blog post with your Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, FriendFeed, Mixx, Furl, and Technorati networks of friends, fans, and followers.
But do you?
Pictures speak a thousand words, so here are five screen shots of social bookmarking services that are among the 49 listed in the ShareThis application (all images can be clicked to be zoomed-in):
Delicious is what I use for bookmarking interesting websites, blogs, and other online content. I rarely use my browser’s bookmarks folder anymore. While lacking in some features, it’s an easy way for me to tag useful content with keywords, that are searchable. I can also see who else using the service bookmarked the same content; and I can then click over to their profiles to see what else they like that I may like too.
If you like this blog post and want to add it to your delicious account, you can share this.
Digg and Reddit allow me to rate and review content. If people like web items, they click a button on each sites to rate the content up and down. The more times something is “dugg,” the higher the rating becomes and the more likely other people will digg it. Ditto for Reddit.
Every month, I receive a fraction of traffic from both sites so I know they work.
StumbleUpon works similar to Digg and Reddit, except while the above are focused primarily on ratings, this centers on reviews. Think of Siskel and Ebert; for every item you or your friends or others on the SU network stumble, you can give a thumbs-up or a thumbs-down and also add a review.
Here’s a shot of my dashboard, looking at recent items I stumbled, both my own content and stuff other people created.
Sphinn is very similar to the three earlier networks, but focuses on online marketing. There are different categories you can rate and review a blog post into, such as Microsoft, Google, Blogging, SEO, etc. I’ve used it a lot in recent days, after taking a hiatus, and I’m seeing a lot of visits.
The key with Sphinn, like the other social bookmarking networks, is you should add more items from other blogs than from your own. Nobody likes spammers.
What are you waiting for? If this was helpful, share this with your friends. Oh yeah, there’s a tab to send a quick email, too.