I didn’t check out too many other social bookmarking tools once I started with del.icio.us, which was practically the only game in town at the time. I tried Furl for a while, but I didn’t find anything that would make me want to use it and I had a lot of trouble importing my bookmarks from del.icio.us (when they finally came over, I ended up with three copies of them!). So I’ve been pretty happy with del.icio.us, but when I got the email from MindValley (the folks who created BlinkList) about filling out their social bookmarking survey, I decided to check them out. Smart way to get your name out there! BlinkList is a really cool social bookmarking tool (with an emphasis on the social) and it just keeps getting better and better. Looking at their blog, it seems like they are coming out with cool new features every week!

Here are some of the reasons I’m switching over to them:

  • If you highlight text on the page you are bookmarking (or “blinking”), it will show up in the description section. I never have the time or inclination to write descriptions myself, but they sure are useful when you have more than 500 items bookmarked, some lacking descriptive titles. This is probably my favorite feature.
  • If you don’t have time to tag a site but want to remember it, there is also a “Quick Blink” bookmarklet that allows you to bookmark the post and tag it later. What I like best about it is that you can find your quick blinks in a special folder. Otherwise, I’d never remember to tag it later on.
  • You can make individual bookmarks private or public so your friends don’t have to see what you bookmarked on Amazon to buy them for Christmas
  • They make it very easy to backup your bookmarks
  • It was super-easy to import my bookmarks from del.icio.us
  • You can flag bookmarks that are really important to you and view them in a separate tab.
  • Their advanced search function allows for boolean searching
  • You can add people to your watchlist so that you can keep track of what your friends are bookmarking. The My List page includes your bookmarks and those of your friends. When you click on a friend, you will only see their particular bookmarks. Love it! It’s a great way to make the invisible Web visible by using trusted sources (friends).
  • Not that it matters too much in terms of functionality, but the interface is really pretty and I love the AJAX-ian movement of pages. Popups are now “fade-ins”. It just adds to the user experience.
  • For each bookmark, BlinkList tries to generate screenshot of the site. This is very helpful when trying to remember what exactly it was that you bookmarked.
  • When you are browsing other people’s bookmarks and you see something you like, just click the “blink it” link and a form will fade into view with the tags and description that the other person assigned to the page. You can change the tags or just click “submit” and you’re done.

What I like best is that they seem to be very open to suggestions and are constantly making improvements. del.icio.us definitely has made improvements since I started using them, but not too many, and now they are really lagging behind many of the other social bookmarking tools. Though I do like that “to:_____” tag that del.icio.us has to bookmark things for other people.

If you’re using BlinkList, let me know. My username is librarianmer. I’d love to get a bookmark list going of people in libraries and/or educational technology so that we can share our bookmarks and learn from one another.