Deliciously Revealing Bookmarks

Del.icio.us is an awesome tool, plain and simple. It lets you easily access your bookmarks from any computer, take advantage of other peoples’ reading and even track topics over time. I’ve written before about six great ways to make your life easier with del.icio.us.

Today, though, I’m warning you to be careful what you bookmark. Your bookmarks can reveal a lot about you.

You should already know that pretty much everything you do online leaves a footprint that can reflect on you for years to come. Your bookmarks are no different.

The sites you save can reveal a pattern.

I can tell you, for example, that one of my contacts recently saved a lot of links to sites about photo collages. Another got very interested in social media measurement recently. Another is into fantasy baseball.

That’s pretty harmless stuff. I’m sure they don’t mind that I know that, just as I don’t mind that they know (from my del.icio.us bookmarks) that I checked out GroupTweet yesterday and a post on American Airlines’ crisis blog the day before.

Be careful with your links

del.icio.us has a 'do not share' optionWhat about more private stuff?

How about the person that got very interested in a particular company all of a sudden?

Did it signal an upcoming career change? Personally I wouldn’t want my boss seeing that. Perhaps they’re for an upcoming pitch for new business? Nice way to inform competitors that the company may be looking.

Here’s a tip: Del.icio.us has a “do not share” option. If you’re saving links that you’d rather other people not see, use it. Your link will then just be saved for you, away from prying eyes.

This doesn’t change the fact that del.icio.us is an extremely useful tool. It is still at its most powerful when you share links with others.

However, this serves as a reminder to be careful with everything you do online. That includes bookmarks.

  • I’ve been using del.icio.us(/angela!!) for a long time, and I find it *invaluable*. I never have to worry about backing up my bookmarks (although I’d be screwed if they lost them). I have also used the “do not share” feature a couple of times. 🙂

  • That is great advice! I was looking at some sort of weird web pages recently, doing research for my novel, and I had second thoughts about saving it to del.icio.us. It wasn’t anything horrible, but it would have raised a few eyebrows from my friends following me. Good to know this is an option.

  • Good thinking Dave!
    I’m generally selective about what I bookmark using Del.icio.us (generally just things that I find interesting and think others might enjoy too. I’m still stuck in the local bookmark headspace for most of my saved pages.

  • Word to the wise about the footprints we leave. You never know when someone with a contrary agenda will take something out of context and twist it – especially if you are in politics or a law suit! Removing certain posts from public view is an excellent safety measure – while leaving the bulk of your bookmarks open to public view in the spirit of helping each other find valuable information and fun things!

  • Word of caution: when you mark an item as “do not share” the tags you use are still available in the tag list. So, if you have a series of bookmarks privately tagged as “jobhunt” that tag will show up in your list–even if other people cannot see the posts listed under that tag. So, be careful what tags you use. Try something neutral like “career” instead in this case. 😉

    I asked the del.icio.us help folks if there is a way to hide tags, and they said no.

    So, please beware!

    Cheers,
    Connie

    P.S. Congrats on your run time in the Boston Marathon, Dave! We were watching your times during the run with great awe. 🙂