On Thursday, word leaked out that social bookmarking site Delicious was being shut down by Yahoo, which bought the site in 2005. But the company denied the rumor and stated on Friday that it is looking for a new home for the service.
Marshall Kirkpatrick still mourns its possible passing:
“It’s a loss not just for the many people who used Delicious to archive links of interest to them around the Web, it’s a loss for the future — for what could have been. Five years later, people are just beginning to appreciate the value of passively published user activity data made available for analysis, personalization and more. That could have been you, Delicious.”
As any journalist will do when given a new tool, Kirkpatrick and ReadWriteWeb used Delicious to discover sources and track news. The technique, which he outlined in a sidebar Thursday, highlights the power of shared, structured data.
ReadWriteWeb identified users who were the most likely to quickly and regularly bookmark important news items, and then used them as an early-warning service for technology coverage. It is a classic social media method that reveals the “signal” among the noise of the Web.
Twitter now serves much the same purpose for journalists. But unlike Delicious, Twitter has no real tagging system and no particular value as a research archive.
My Twitter stream was busy with traffic Thursday night as Delicious users hunted for alternative services to salvage years worth of saved bookmarks. While there is still hope Delicious will be saved, I have exported my bookmarks just to be safe. And among the first sites I tagged, back in January of 2006, was Poynter.org.
According to Delicious, that URL has been saved 2,270 times, originally by Angus Fraser on May 13, 2002. Try looking that up on Twitter and you get a feel for the history, and social graph, we lose if all of those shared bookmarks disappear.