Del.icio.us: Networking

I’ve continued to explore the different function of Del.icio.us – anyone who’s been to any of my workshops knows of my ideas about learning software “click on everything to see what it does.”

The first high-level link was “your bookmarks”, which I talked about in the last post about social bookmarking. The next link is: “networking.”

Once you click on that link, it opens a new page. If you haven’t networked yet, it will be mostly blank. But on the far right, you can add people to your network. I have a new colleagues who use Del.icio.us so I asked what their del.icio.us names were*. I have six people on my network (I’m not super social, just moderately social), and when I go to the Neworking page, I can see what they’ve recently tagged. My colleagues and I share some similar interests, so I can explore useful sites I see, and I can also get a good idea of who’s working on what, or what has grabbed their interest lately. This means that if Stephanie recently has been tagging ePortfolio sites, I can send her a recent blog posting, contact name, or podcast that I know of and we can pool knowledge and bounce ideas off each other.

Sometimes Stephanie is looking at stuff that has nothing to do with any of my current projects, or she’s tagged something that’s just interesting, and has nothing to do with her current projects. Serendipitous links and ideas can provide me with unexpected context, challenge an assumption, create new connections between divergent ideas and are a fun part of the learning cycle.

I can also do this all backwards as well, using my tags to find other interesting people. I’ve been tagging PRS (Personal Response System) lately, since we are looking at using those at SFU. I can look at the items that I’ve tagged with PRS and see who else has tagged the same page. From there I can find other power users, and see how they organize their tags, and what they have found and share that I didn’t know. More following of links leading to serendipitous finds.

*I have a fairly consistent online alter-ego name, so my friends and colleauges are frequently able to find me in any social software (such as Flickr, Del.icio.us, Second Life and more). For the same reason, I’m always able to find them. It’s also far easier to remember one alter-login than one for each site.

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