Is social bookmarking dead?

In the five-minutes-of fame culture of the Web, it’s difficult to tell which websites and trends are simply flavor-of-the week fads and which ones are here to stay.

Just a few years ago, bloggers and SEO experts were touting the successes of social bookmarking sites like Digg, Reddit and Delicious, but an article in last week’s issue of Newsweek reports that Digg has lost more than 70 percent of its users in the last year.

What is to blame, according to Newsweek? Twitter, of course. Well, Twitter and a highly unpopular redesign. Nevertheless, with people spending more time on Facebook and Twitter, it makes sense that social bookmarking sites would see a drop in traffic. But that doesn’t mean social bookmarking is dead!

In fact, social bookmarking is more alive than ever—just in a different form. Instead of going to aggregators and standalone social bookmarking websites, people are using Twitter and Facebook to share links. With that said, don’t write off the power of social bookmarking websites just yet.

What is social bookmarking and why is it useful?
Have you ever e-mailed someone a link to something on the Web that you thought was interesting? If you have, you have participated in a form of social bookmarking.

Simply put, social bookmarking is a way to share links that you like with other people on the Web who might also like them. As the Web evolved and became more social, websites sprung up as ways to share cool links with not only e-mail buddies, but with people across the Web.

Sophisticated social bookmarking sites like Digg allow users to vote on links that they like, and those links move up in priority on the website’s front page.

These websites are great at creating a space for people to find out what online content is fresh and interesting and share what they have been reading. They are also useful in SEO because they help in backlinking, which provides search engines another avenue to find websites—not the mention the traffic boost a popular link can offer!

Is social bookmarking going away?
The short answer is no. Twitter and Facebook are becoming the de facto way of sharing links for many people. That is not a bad thing! In fact, it opens social bookmarking to a broader audience who may have never used websites like Digg or Reddit because it’s so easy to use.

Social bookmarking websites still have their place. Facebook and Twitter are great for quick link sharing, but with social bookmarking websites, users can sort through categories and search through more links on an interface that is designed specifically for that activity.

That, and social bookmark website users on popular niche sites have grown into a tight-knit community that is very good at having a finger on the pulse of Internet trends. These groups of people are great at filtering through online content, and giving deserving websites a boost and getting them picked up by people on Facebook and Twitter.

So don’t give up on social bookmarking! Just because it is evolving doesn’t mean it’s going away.