Why I Stopped Using Bookmarks

Bookmarks suck. Sure, it was easy to keep track of them when you only had a few dozen, but these days, we want to file away hundreds, usually thousands of various tidbits of information. Once you bookmark it, how do you find it? For a long time, we used folders to try and classify each item, but that often caused as many problems as it solved. Should that awesome-looking recipe for banana bread go under bread, or desserts, or recipes (with 200 others), or a brand new category? Even tags don’t entirely solve this problem since you end up having to remember how you tagged the darn thing. Even with some kind of search function, you have to hope that you added the right keywords in order to find it. Bookmarking is kind of an inelegant mess, but a necessary one. Or is it?

When Google Reader ended their share function, I, like most users, was rather put out by it. After all, I used it extensively, and it was extremely useful. I tried using Tumblr for a while, but I was getting practically zero interaction on content I shared, and it proved difficult to find it later. I ended up resigning myself to going along with Google’s +1 button and sharing the items on Google+.

What happened next was awesome. Not long after I started sharing things on Google+, they started showing up in my regular search results. Then I noticed that things I’d seen shared by others on Google+ were also showing up in my search results. Then I heard from a friend that something I’d shared was in their search results and had helped them find something they were looking for even though they never used Google+. While social bookmarking is nothing new (Delicious, Reddit, and Pinterest have been doing in for a while), they were always siloed in the site and depended very heavily on my friends’ participation. Actually including the content in the search I’m already doing instead of making me go search in multiple places has incalculable value.

The lesson here is simple: if you want to easily find stuff from your bookmarks at a later time, +1 it and share it on Google+.

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