The end of social bookmarking?

So yesterday, the news to leak out across the Internet was that Yahoo is sunsetting their social bookmarking service del.icio.us. This is in relation to Yahoo laying off 500 employees just before Christmas.

Smash and grab

If, like me, you have quite a few bookmarks (I moved everything over from ma.gnolia, when that shuttered) there are some easy steps to get your bookmarks out.

  1. Log into Delicious
  2. Go to Settings and choose Export/Backup Bookmarks
  3. Export you bookmarks, including notes and tags
  4. Choose save on the prompt

You should now have an HTML file with all your bookmarks.  Another export method was offered by Jeremy Keith on Twitter, which gives you the same thing but as an XML file.  Its probably best to get both as you never know what you’ll need in the future.

Moving on

Now you have to find somewhere to store them (apart from backing them up at home) in addition to adding them to your browser.  A couple of services came to light such as Pinboard.in (paid) and ZooTool (free) which offer more than just a bookmarking links service.  Both of these reached out through Twitter to fill the gap and are straining a little under the influx of new users. I chose to try ZooTool but haven’t checked whether my upload has finished yet (I started it last night).

There is also a service (apparently written in 30 minutes on an iPhone, whilst shopping at Safeway – I kid you not) called Spabba. Spabba can grab and store your Delicious bookmarks with tags if you have a pre-Yahoo username and password. I haven’t tried it myself.

I also wanted to drop my bookmarks into Evernote too, but they don’t have a direct import function that will keep your tags.  A rough workaround to this is:

  1. Drag the HTML file you exported from Delicious into a browser
  2. Right-click on the page and select View Source
  3. Highlight all the text
  4. Create a new note in Evernote
  5. Paste the HTML in to the new note

Now you don’t have links that you can click on in Evernote,  but you do have access to all of your tags as they are stored in the HTML as part of the link.  This means they are completely searchable from within Evernote as content. Not great, but it’ll do in a pinch.

The future isn’t what it used to be

Now bear in mind this great rush to export everything is based on one leaked slide that said Yahoo is sunsetting Delicious.  As far as I know there (still) has been no official message from Yahoo. No timeframe. No roadmap. Nothing.  With Yahoo’s recent history of making huge chunks of Internet ‘dark’ you can see why people are now looking at other Yahoo properties, such as Flickr, and how they can get their content out easily and quickly.

It also raises the question of ‘social bookmarking’ in general. When I asked “where’s left?” Larry Halff (ma.gnolia) tweeted I don’t know that bookmarking problem has been solved in a long term way: either in terms of a business or real world use cases.

But has it now come down to the fact that,  in a world with search engines like Google and social networks  like Twitter, the need and desire to bookmark content is out-dated? That there no longer is a “problem” as findability is reaching a tipping point? I don’t think so, at least just not yet.  Personally there is still too much wheat from chaff sorting that I have to do,when using these options, and a personal collection (that is shared on every device) is still a utopian dream I’m hoping someone can realise for me.