Be Careful What You Save

Be careful what you save in Delicious.

To be a little more specific – be careful how you save things in Delicious.

*Social* bookmarking

Delicious is a social bookmarking tool. This  means that, while Delicious is great for replacing your bloated “favourites” list in your browser, there are also sharing features built-in. This is helpful for teams working in the online space – you can easily tag something as “for: [someone]” to send it to them – but it also brings with it a few other considerations.

Network with care

One of my favourite features in Delicious is the ability to form a network of contacts (here’s mine). When you add people to your network, you can easily subscribe to all of their bookmarks in an RSS reader (I’ve mentioned this before when looking at 6 ways to make your life easier with Delicious). Pretty neat, huh?

Delicious network

Unless you don’t want other people to see the things you’re bookmarking, that is. Maybe you’re working on a new business project, or trying to do something to surprise someone, or *gasp* bookmarking job postings.

Now, Delicious has a “Do not share” feature that prevents others from seeing the sites you save. Problem solved, you would think. But what if you forget to check the “do not share” box when you save the article? No problem, surely – you can just go back and click it later, right?


Yes, you can go back and un-share your bookmarks. Yes, that will remove that bookmark from the public list of sites you’ve saved.

No, it won’t remove them from RSS feeds.

An example

I recently had a conversation with someone about using Delicious to save research they were conducting. We discussed the importance of making their bookmarks private.

Imagine my surprise, then, when I glanced at my RSS reader a while later and saw numerous bookmarks from that person on the topic we’d just discussed. When I searched the person’s saved bookmarks on Delicious itself they were gone – they’d obviously corrected the error – but they’re now stored forever in my Google Reader results.

Once again, a useful reminder – be careful what you do online.

Dave Fleet
Managing Director and Head of Global Digital Crisis at Edelman. Husband and dad of two. Cycling nut; bookworm; videogamer; Britnadian. Opinions are mine, not my employer's.