6 Ways To Make Life Easier With Del.icio.us

Since I started using it regularly about six months ago, del.icio.us has rapidly become one of my most-used tools.

If you haven’t started using the service seriously, I suggest you do so. Here’s a quick primer (skip to below if you’re already a pro):

Obviously, if you like, you can just use del.icio.us to save articles and sites for future reference. You won’t be using even half of its potential though.

Here are six more ways you can use del.icio.us to make life easier for you and the people around you.

Let other people do your surfing for you

This is my favourite use for del.icio.us, and it’s based on the ‘social’ side of the tool.

Del.icio.us lets you add people to your del.icio.us ‘network.’ Find out the usernames of people you respect (look on their other sites, or just ask them) and add them to your network. Then, use your RSS reader to subscribe to the links from your network.

Why?

Because if you only add people you know and trust, you can use them to do your reading for you.

No more trawling through hundreds of useless posts in the hope of finding one or two nuggets. No more mind-numbing sessions hitting ‘next’ on your RSS reader for what feels like forever. You only see the posts that your contacts have deemed worthy of saving.

I keep my network to a small number (about 20), but those 20 people provide between a third and a half of the posts I read every day, and a much higher proportion of the articles I bookmark myself.

Queue up blog topics

Some people are blogging machines who manage to churn out posts in advance of when they need them so they always have a bunch lined up.

Me? Not so much, and as much as I think most people would love to be sitting on a store of posts, I’d be surprised if they are.

You can make your life easier by bookmarking things you might want to write about. Just tag it with “toBlog” or something similar, then when you’re stuck for something to write about, flip to your list of “toBlog” articles.

Search engine

Partial screenshot of del.icio.us homepageDel.icio.us can serve as an excellent backup if search engines fail you. Not only will a quick del.icio.us search throw up your own saves, it will show the top ones saved by other people too.

Power tip: You can search for tag combinations direct from your address bar – type http://del.icio.us/tag/[tag1]+[tag2] to pull up all the posts that are tagged with both.

Track coverage of you/your organization/your clients

This is fairly obvious for communications pros you can use del.icio.us to keep a record of media coverage related to your company or clients – bookmark articles with ‘coverage.’

Power tip: For bonus points, create a ‘coverage’ bundle, and group articles on different topics within it.

Non-communications folks can use this idea too. Want to keep track of articles where you’re mentioned? Want to remember who’s written about your site? Del.icio.us is a great way to keep it all organized in one place

Track topics

Del.icio.us lets you ‘subscribe’ to tags so you see everything that’s saved with that tag. Go to your del.icio.us settings and click ‘subscriptions,’ then enter the keywords you’re interested in.

Let’s say you’re interested in marathon running, and you want to keep up with the top posts on that subject. In this case, you might subscribe to ‘marathon’ or ‘running.’ You can view your subscriptions by clicking the ‘subscriptions’ link at the top of the page, or by going to http://del.icio.us/subscriptions/[username]

If you use an RSS reader, it’s even easier. Search for whatever you’re interested in, then scroll to the bottom of the page, click the ‘RSS’ button and let the subscriptions come to you.

Power tip: For slightly more advanced tracking features, try these:

  • Combined tags: http://del.icio.us/rss/tag/[tag1]+[tag2]
  • Popular tags: http://del.icio.us/rss/popular/[tag]
  • Users: http://del.icio.us/rss/[username]

Provide a resource for others

Del.icio.us is a powerful enough tool if you use it on your own, but it becomes even more useful when you remember that it is a social bookmarking tool and help others to benefit from your reading too.

Del.icio.us allows access to the articles you save using the address http://del.icio.us/[username]/[tag].

For example, I save useful case studies here: http://del.icio.us/davefleet/case_studies

If you read a lot on a work-related topic, why not provide a link to those articles to your co-workers?

Power Tip: Another powerful, although slightly more blunt, tool is the option to publish a daily blog post of articles you’ve bookmarked. Go to your del.icio.us settings, scroll to the bottom and select ‘daily blog posting’ for information on how to set this up.

If you decide to set up a daily blog post, be sure to enter a good description for every article you save from now on (you already did this though, right?). The description will be the only context readers are given about the links you save.

Conclusion

So there you have it – six more ways that del.icio.us can make life (both yours and others’) a little easier.

Do you use del.icio.us in a different way? How do you use it?

30 Responses to6 Ways To Make Life Easier With Del.icio.us

  • Great list, one use I make of del.icio.us is to track down the most bookmarked sites across the network for a particular tag.
    You then have a list of say a dozen or more sites/pages that many others think are worthwhile, which you can then write up into a new post on your own blog.

  • Did any of these come from your Twitter call-out yesterday? Or did you come up with all of these on your own?

  • Hey Dave… no, these ideas are mine, although a couple of people also seem to use del.icio.us to share relevant articles with other people or to track topics.

    Other people came up with some great suggestions (Bryan Person uses del.icio.us to track blog posts he’s commented on and Connie Crosby uses it to submit stories for consideration by podcasts, for example) but I’m not one to take ideas and pass them off as my own. By the way, you’re one of the people that do my blog reading for me (see my first point) 🙂

    How about you – how do you use it?

  • Dave, all great ideas here. I don’t think there’s a problem including others’ suggestions as part of a list that forms your own post. I’ve certainly done that before. All you have to do is acknowledge them in some way in your post.

    After all, blogging is very often about collecting ideas/taking inspiration from your community and packaging them together in a refreshing way that makes sense for your readers.

    Keep the great content coming, Dave!

  • Hi Bryan… very true, and I’ve done that many times. I decided not to in this case, for no larger reason than that it was already midnight when I finished collating my thoughts!

    Thanks for checking in, and for your input the other day.

  • That’s a perfectly valid reason in my book, too!

  • Great post! Del.icio.us was probably the first ‘social’ tool I used, and I still use it very regularly.

    Have you tried similar services? I’m just so in love with delicious, I don’t want to try anything else, though I’m curious how other tools compare…

  • Kelly, give http://ma.gnolia.com/ a try. It’s also a social-bookmarking service that many people like.

  • Nice tips, I’m currently working on expanding my use of social networking sites. You give some good reasons to add Delicious to my list.

  • Good summary Dave. I’ve been a del.icio.us user for a year or more now and love it. You don’t have a link to your del.icio.us accont from your blog… an oversight maybe :0)

  • Another thought. I recently twittered (jedb) wondering about the need to ‘tidy up’ del.icio.us tags. They tend to multiply once you start. So far I think a few redundant terms is a good thing and outweighs being concise and tidy. How do you see it?

  • Just as you say, del.icio.us is a really powerful tool. Thanks for the tips, I only knew about 70% of them.

    I use del.icio.us in conjunction with the Firefox add-in, so my del.icio.us bookmarks are available through the bookmarks menu and new bookmarks go directly to del.icio.us.
    Also quite powerful: it makes the search feature available through a Firefox side bar, so I never have to actually go to the web site.
    This combination is so efficient, I could not miss it in my daily work any more.

  • Excellent ideas Dave.
    I found delicious so confusing at first, now I can’t live without it. I’ve also setup accounts for clients to facilitate link sharing and increase collective knowledge.

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