Way back in January, I wrote about how small businesses (and people, too, of course), can share their expertise through social linksharing — that is, instead of bookmarking things in your browser where only you can get to them, publishing them to social linksharing / social bookmarking sites (or any other sites that can be used that way, like Delicious, StumbleUpon, Diigo, Twitter, Tumblr, etc) so that they’re publicly accessible to the world, and so that people can see what you find interesting, and get the benefit of your judgment and expertise.
Since aggregation and curation can add value (even with minimal commentary) and generate ongoing activity that can be fed into other platforms where you are, social linksharing can be a complement, or even a replacement, to full-fledged blogging.
Plus, it fits pretty neatly into your existing workflow, requiring no extra time — other than, say, making sure that any annotations that you add are comprehensible to other people. (However, looking at some of my Delicious links, I see that some of them are kind of like my notes from college [handwritten, as was the fashion of the time] — if it wasn’t for the context from the original link, I’d have no idea what I was trying to say or why it was important to save at the time.)
Book Shame and Reading List Guilt
Of course, there are times when you might not want people to see what you’re interested in, either for reasons of competitive intelligence or… shame, in which case the privacy functions of social bookmarking platforms come into play, or not sharing at all. “Book shame” (or more precisely, reading list guilt) is why I haven’t shared my “books to read” list, nor my ever-growing folder of downloaded PDFs, which cover everything from counterinsurgency and other policy whitepapers, studies on how anger affects decision-making, mapping the genome of collective intelligence, any number of ebooks, and many, many other things that I will most likely never get around to reading.
Just like social bookmarking, your personal reading list can be aspirational — maybe you’re not going to ever get to something, but you know you should, so you save it to show yourself or others that your head is in the right place.
The benefit of free-ish storage is that it doesn’t cost anything to save something, even if you’ll never get to it. (Save for psychic costs.) However, at least for me, the digital form factor is a factor — not only is my laptop not my first choice when it comes to reading, when something is tucked away into a folder on my laptop, I tend to not think about it. A value of paper books is that they’re harder to ignore, though you pay for this during moves.
Also, the conceit of our interconnected culture is that stuff is always going to be there for you online. However, speaking from hard-learned experience, though, there is something to be said for keeping a local hoard. I guess things online don’t disappear as much as they used to, but they can still move around — even with robust Web search, trying to hunt down a report or survey you need can still be a pain.
Anyway, I guess this has been a window into my personal failings. I do need to mine my socially-saved links more, instead of just turning them into an aspirational dumping group. And I think going forward I’ll be more careful to social bookmark the PDFs I’m wooing, in addition to grabbing them locally. I’m sure there’s a points-based social game out there that leverages gaming reward behaviors to encourage reading — “Book Wars,” anyone?
Got reading habits or foibles you’d like to share? Leave a comment.Google+