I've been singing the virtues of the Delicious social bookmarking tool for a number of years in media training sessions. I make a point of telling all trainees I meet at the BBC College of Journalism that if there are three key tools they absolutely must get to grips with to do journalism online, they are Twitter, RSS and Delicious.
RSS and Twitter are still with us. However, it appears Delicious is about to snuff it. This is a shame on a number of levels.
I have several accounts, store all my journalism research in one, use another as a newswire fed directly into kigaliwire.
I've collaborated with journalists on Delicious. The network feature is utterly priceless – where else can I follow such up to date thoughts, research and spot the latest journalism web tools than on Delicious? Even Twitter is second best to my Delicious network.
But, now it's gone. Or going. Maybe. Unless it goes open source or Yahoo change their mind. But, in the meantime the bookmarks are too important to leave on Delicious.
If there's anything positive to come out of this – and there is lots – it's that I had to take a serious look around at Delicious alternatives. Murray Dick lists a whole bunch of sites. Paul Bradshaw is pooling knowledge in his search to find a new home for his one hundred gazillion bookmarks.
There's been virtually no innovation since Delicious was bought by Yahoo some 5 years ago. I was constantly having problems with the Delicious bookmarklet since I've been using it almost exclusively to post to Delicious and Twitter simultaneously and to feed the kigaliwire newswire.
Diigo has a fantastic array of tools to use – from a sleek, seemingly reliable bookmarklet, web page annotation, customisable link rolls, embeddable tag rolls and a straightforward html import function (although I've been waiting a few hours and my Delicious bookmarks from two accounts have yet to arrive). I can even automatically post through to Delicious from Diigo and export all the bookmarks if Diigo also goes belly up somewhere down the line.
In addition, there is a low cost premium version. It's like Delicious, but someone's actually shown it a bit of love.
And, whereas visitors to Pinboard are greeted with a "Due to very heavy traffic, some background services (import, archiving) are running slowly" sign, Diigo has been speeding along all morning. In short, I can do everything I used to do with Delicious, but I might have to pay a little for the pleasure.
Hell, back in the day – like yesterday – I would've paid for Delicious – now, I'm not so sure I would, even if it was an option. I think it'd take Delicious so long to catch up to where Diigo appears to already be, the game may already be moving on.
I am going to miss the Delicious network, and there are deeper concerns about what it means for the web, but if enough of my old network make the switch to Diigo – as I suspect they will – then all might not be lost on that front either. Beth Kanter and Martin Stabe have already switched I see.
Irrelevant picture taken from a train in wintry southern Scotland recently.