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It appears that Delicious, one of the oldest tools in my web tech toolbox, may be closing (or, as Yahoo has just said, may be sold).

A leaked slide from a Yahoo all-hands meeting hit Twitter yesterday, showing that the company plans to "sunset" the social bookmarking service. For many of us that have long used Delicious, there was an instant outpouring of sadness and frustration, and a scramble to identify alternatives.

For my part, I have thousands of Delicious bookmarks, a record of a decade's worth of surfing and saving. I do not bookmark things with my browser; I use Delicious. I send all links I tweet, via Packrati.us to Delicious. I subscribe to several RSS feeds of Delicious tags, information that I use in my research. I run an RSS feed of all things I tag "ed-tech" down the side of Hack Education.

So like many people, the news of Delicious's impending closure made me look for alternatives. And I came to two very important conclusions:

1. I will not use Diigo

At first glance, Diigo seemed like an obvious alternative as it combines social bookmarking with the sorts community collaboration and curation services I like. I've long weighed a switch to Diigo, particularly as I know a lot of educators use the tool. But I've always felt as though Diigo was too bloated, doing more than I needed a bookmarking service to do (and doing things that I've come to use other, better tools for -- Evernote, for example. Or Instapaper.).

But the real reason I refuse to use Diigo -- and I caution others against adopting it -- is that Diigo does not follow secure protocols with the transmission and storage of your username and password. As I connect my social bookmarking tool to other services (via APIs), this is unacceptable. Actually, it's unacceptable regardless, something we should certainly be more diligent about, particularly following the recent Gawker debacle.

Every bookmark that is added to Diigo via its API transmits your username and password in clear text. Diigo does not support SSL for its API or its website. And while you may scoff at having high security standards for your bookmarks, if you're like most Internet users, I bet you use that same password in multiple locations.

I cannot recommend anyone use Diigo until the company addresses this. (I've sent them an email, asking them to clarify. I'll update this post when I hear from them.)

Updated: Maggie Tsai, Diigo's co-founder, just wrote to me and said that Diigo does now support SSL on all password-related areas. The API issue was "an oversight," she says, and this has been corrected.

2. I don't need a social bookmarking tool

As I started to think through the loss of Delicious, I had to weigh how I use its service and what I am really looking for in a replacement. I need two things: I need a way to store bookmarks for my own usage. And I need a way to curate information I find online to share with others.

I've concluded those needn't happen in the same tool.

I will import all my Delicious bookmarks into Google Chrome. I am quite sure that there is plenty of crap in there, sites that are dead, things I flagged but are no longer relevant. It would be a massive ordeal to "clean house" so to speak and it seems silly to fight to maintain a collection of bookmarks that are, for the most part, the equivalent of 2004's holiday cards -- quite special at the time, but pretty pointless overall to keep.

I am going to do a better job with Google Reader, curating and sharing my feeds. In lieu of the Delicious RSS feed on the sidebar of Hack Education, I'm going to start tagging things "ed-tech" in Reader, making that tag public, and using that feed as the place where others can find my recommended reads/feeds/sites. You can subscribe to the RSS feed. You can click through and, if you choose, bookmark things yourself.

The important elements of Delicious -- curation and discovery -- can live on, but I don't think they need be as social bookmarking. There are other tools -- Tumblr and Twitter, for example -- where we more commonly share information.

Yes, I'm sad to see Delicious go. But rather than quickly rush to replicate the Delicious "experience" on another site, I've decided instead to re-examine how I use save, tag, and share information. Did Delicious need to die? No, I don't think so. But is it good to let go of tools that may no longer work well? Yes, I think it is.

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Audrey Watters


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