Rescued from the brink of a Yahoo-ligan destruction, the social bookmarking site Delicious is officially relaunching today. But for those in ed-tech who diligently store and share and curate bookmarks -- with students, with other educators, the question may well be "So what?"
To shrug off the new Delicious is actually a little painful as I was a long time fan of the old Delicious. The operative word there was "old" as Delicious was one of the tools I had in my tech toolbox for the longest time.
But late last year, things changed. A leaked slide from a Yahoo "all hands" meeting indicated that the company was weighing "sunsetting" Delicious. Instead of closing the site, Yahoo opted to sell, and Delicious was purchased by YouTube founders Chad Hurley and Steve Chen in April.
The whole ordeal caused a great deal of hand-wringing on the part of the Internet community, particularly among those of us who'd long been using Delicious. Even before it was clear what the future of Delicious would be, people were turning elsewhere for alternatives, moving their data to sites Diigo, for example, or to Pinboard.
For a variety of reasons, I opted to go with the latter, a decision I don't regret at all. I've written elsewhere about some of the reasons why I opted to use Pinboard over Diigo. I've always felt the latter to be pretty bloated, with far more bells and whistles than I needed. Pinboard is simple, the interface clean. In addition to a bookmarklet that lets me store sites as I browse, I have the service connected to my Google Reader, to Instapaper, and to Twitter. I also follow an RSS feed of certain Pinboard tags (namely "ed-tech") to help me discover what others are bookmarking.
So I admit: I don't feel as though I have a compelling reason to switch away from Pinboard. In fact, when Yahoo sent me a message a few weeks ago, warning me that my old links would be lost if I didn't approve the data transfer to the new Delicious, I didn't bother to respond.
The New Delicious
Indeed, I had to sign up for a brand new Delicious account today as my old login credentials no longer work. For those who missed the opportunity to transfer their links and update their accounts, that's going to be a huge stumbling block to adoption. And as Matt Lingard observes, this is far from the only problem with a site that probably could have used a better beta.
Missing from the new Delicious are many of the features that made the old Delicious useful: the ability to rename and delete tags or edit their descriptions; the ability to edit networks and network bundles; the ability to edit subscriptions and subscription bundles, for example. There's no RSS, which means no way to subscribe to interesting tags or users. You can't create blog posts from your Delicious links nor, at this stage at least, can you post them to Twitter.
The new feature that the new Delicious offers is called "Stacks" -- "A stack is a collection of links built around a common theme. To get started, visit the stack tab on your profile page and click 'create stack.' Choose at least three links, add juicy descriptions, pick the best images, choose the layout, and shuffle the order of links. When you're all set, click publish to share your Delicious stack." A feature that points to the site's connection now to YouTube, "Stacks" are playlists, of sorts, for content.
This could be an interesting way to use the site for offering students a way to visually browse information, something that Richard Byrne suggests. But I think he's being pretty generous here. Yes, he's spot on about why you should use a bookmarking service -- so "you can always access your favorite bookmarks from any Internet-connected computer" -- but there's very little with the new Delicious (at least on Day One) that makes it a compelling tool for educators or for students.
The social bookmarking community has moved on I think, and Delicious, after years of languishing under Yahoo, still seems to be pretty old hat even under its new ownership.