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Social bookmarking is a method of networking in which users save and share links to Internet content which they believe may be of interest to others. It is among a large families of activities which people can engage in as a form of social networking. A number of sites offer social bookmarking services and some have very large and active communities. Many bloggers and other people who work online engage heavily in social bookmarking as a promotional tool and method of sharing information.
A user on a social bookmarking site identifies a link of interest and "bookmarks" or saves it with the site. Many such sites have widgets which can be installed in a browser, allowing the user to click a single button to bookmark a page as opposed to having to go to the social bookmarking site and paste in the link. Clicking that button typically pulls up some options which the user can employ to tag the content to make it easier to find.
An individual user on a social bookmarking site will have a list of links of interest which can be sorted by tags, dates, and other parameters. That list may be viewable to the public or private, in which case it can only be seen by friends. People browsing such sites can follow users who tend to find content which interests them, and individual bookmarks can spawn their own discussion pages in which people talk about the content and share related links.
It is also possible to enable a submission feature on a social bookmarking page. For example, a website which covers feminist issues might invite users to submit links of feminist interest. This allows site users to draw the attention of the site owners to specific articles and sites which may interest them. It also creates more opportunities for social networking, as other site users can see recommended links and explore both the links and the people who recommended them.
Delicious, Reddit, and Digg are examples of sites which provide social bookmarking services, along with collaborative tagging, in which people add metadata for context. Tagging is useful, as users can search tags to find content related to a specific topic. Another aspect of social bookmarking can be link promotion, with links submitted by numerous people rising to the front page to be seen by everyone, while links which are less popular become buried over time. Users who become known for submitting interesting and popular links also rise in the site rankings.
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