A beginner’s guide to digital pharma: part 10 – social bookmarking

Faisal Ahmed and Paul Tunnah


Continued from “A beginner’s guide to digital pharma: part 9 – mobile apps!

Welcome to the world of organising!

You’ve probably all heard the term ‘social bookmarking’ – some of you will be familiar with the concept but for others you may think it’s just another current trendy web term that won’t be around in twelve months’ time. Well, it’s not just a fad but actually a great way to organise and share content.

Social bookmarking has been around since the beginning of the commercial web, but the problem with early companies in this space was that they got hit by the dot.com bubble and hit hard. However, fast forward a few years and they made a momentous return with popular sites such as Delicious, Furl, StumbleUpon and so on, before the real rise of social sharing took off with the emergence of sites like YouTube and Facebook.


“…you can access them anywhere that you can access the internet…”

So what is social bookmarking and what does it do?

Well, you will have all seen the funny logos that appear at the end of news stories, blog pieces or even videos. In effect, these are a way to bookmark a particular page or piece of web content in the same way that you are used to bookmarking a page in your internet browser. But, the main (and key) difference is that you can access them anywhere that you can access the internet (irrespective of what browser you are using) and they can be public so you can share them with your friends.


Social bookmarking logos taken from this site (top right)

So social bookmarking is clearly useful for the user who wants to come back to their favourite bits of content. However, they are even more powerful if you are running a website – adding social bookmarking tools is great for search engine optimisation (SEO) and can provide the mechanism for letting users drive your content viral. Just imagine the free exposure you’re getting by allowing users to easily plug your content on their Facebook page, Twitter or LinkedIn to share it with their hundreds or even thousands of followers, colleagues or friends.

There are hundreds of different social bookmarking sites out there, but some of the most popular include:

Delicious: One of the most famous social bookmarking sites, claimed to have over 5 million users and 200 million sites bookmarked.

Digg: Another popular place where users can find and share content.

Reddit: Whilst it might not visually be the most appealing, this is another long time player and very popular, so a great way to search millions of bookmarks already saved and shared by users.

StumbleUpon: One of the most famous social bookmarking sites that is well known for allowing its users to rate the bookmarks shared by other (socialising social!).

There are always alternative bookmarking sites springing up, so some of the ‘best of the rest’ and newcomers include:

Google Bookmarks: If you’ve ever starred a search result on Google or starred a location in Google Maps, it’s already been saved into Google Bookmarks, so you’re already a social bookmarking pro! This is a great service that I would highly recommend as a personal access anywhere bookmarking tool.

Evernote: Evernote isn’t just for bookmarking web pages (although you can do that obviously), but you can also save components of them such as text clippings. I already know a few professional search marketers who use Evernote instead of more popular tools such as Delicious.

Connotea: Free online reference management and sharing for researchers and scientists, so particular applicable in the pharma industry.

Pinboard: Pinboard is a bookmarking site for people who want a fast, reliable way to keep track of the things they find online without much fuss, billing itself as the bookmarking site for introverts!


“For business use social bookmarking is a must for any content you put up on the web.”

For business use social bookmarking is a must for any content you put up on the web. The great thing is that adding social bookmarking doesn’t involve working with hundreds of separate site as there are aggregator tools that allow you to add multiple icons with one piece of code. Two of the more popular are:

AddThis: A nice simple way to add multiple social bookmarks that includes all the popular ones and many you may not have even heard of. Simply click on the ‘Get AddThis’ button on the website and paste the code into your site. It also includes an analytics package, which is very useful.

ShareThis: Very similar to AddThis, but allowing you to predefine which key bookmarking sites you want to include in your ShareThis box. Click on ‘Get the Button’ and follow the process, although it is a bit more time consuming than AddThis.

That’s a quick overview of social bookmarking, an area of the web that is only going to get more and more popular with all the buzz around social media, so make sure you’re not missing out.

As always, we hope that’s been useful and let us know your feedback by commenting on this article, through our Twitter streams or the site contact form as outlined below.

Oh…and if you like this article, don’t forget to use the AddThis button up there on the top right to bookmark it and share with your friends!

The next article in this series can be viewed here

About the authors:

Faisal Ahmed is one of a handful of people in the UK that has been involved with digital for over 14 years, providing digital thought leadership to some of the biggest brands globally, also contributing to some of the best-selling books on digital, having been part of the start-up team at Amazon, defining how we shop online. Faisal has launched digital strategies for 90 football Clubs, the ECB and WRC. He also launched Playboy’s mobile and social media platforms in 2006 and one of the first online social networks. Over the last 2 years Faisal has been working in Healthcare winning over 15 awards and bringing to life both one of the first mobile apps and augmented reality in healthcare. Faisal is currently working at Life-Healthcare and can be found Tweeting here @sickonthenet and contacted on LinkedIn here http://www.linkedin.com/in/ahmedfaisal.

Paul Tunnah is Founder and Managing Director of www.pharmaphorum.com, the dynamic online information and discussion portal for the pharmaceutical industry featuring news, articles, events / company listings and online discussion. For queries he can be reached through the site contact form or on Twitter @pharmaphorum.

What are your favourite social bookmarking tools?