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Social Bookmarking and Networking – How Involved Are You?

Posted By Darren Rowse 30th of May 2007 Social Media 0 Comments

Belle from Working Blogger wrote me an interesting question last week on social networking and bookmarking communities that I thought might make an interesting topic for discussion for the wider community. She writes:

“What on earth is a blogger to do about all the various social networking communities. I do love StumbleUpon because it’s just so easy to use, but things like MyBlogLog and FaceBook and MySpace and the gazillion and one new social networking communities that seem to spring up all over the place – how do you know which one to spend your energy on? And then there’s Netscape vs. Digg – sometimes it seems to me that keeping track of what’s going on among all the various communities is a full-time endeavour in and of itself.”

I would love to get the ProBlogger readerships perspective on this one – please leave your thoughts in comments below.

  • Do you use social bookmarking and networking sites?
  • If so, which ones?
  • Do you find that they actually help your blogging? If so – how?
  • How much time do you spend on these sorts of activities each week?
  • What does being involved in them effectively involve for you?

A few reflections from me:
My own feelings on social bookmarking and networking sites is mixed. I do get involved to some extent. Some of those that I have accounts with include (I’ve linked to my profile pages for each if you’re interested in connecting):

I also use Digg, Reddit, Delicious as bookmarking sites. I use these different services to different extents (as you’ll see from the links).

I know Technorati Favorites doesn’t really belong in this cluster of sites – but as I’ll explain later I think it can have some similar benefits.

Why do I get involved?
For me there are a variety of reasons to be involved. For starters I enjoy it – to some extent. Secondly I think it’s important to understand the Web 2.0 landscape and evolving social nature of the web for someone who is in my field.

The other reason is that I do find that there are some tangible and intangible benefits of being involved. Obviously there is a large amount of traffic that can be directed at your blog if you’re lucky and a little smart using some of the social bookmarking sites – but for me the other less tangible benefits are probably more important. Some of these include:

  • profile – I’m amazed how many people stumble upon me via these sites and contact me through them
  • relationships – Numerous opportunities have opened up for me via some of these sites (particularly LinkedIn). I’ve also found relationships strengthened with readers when I’ve posted my profile pages – it gives readers a sense a intimacy to be able to add you as a friend.
  • brand reinforcement – The more places that people come across you the stronger your brand becomes. The beauty of being involved in these different spaces is that people will come across you in their own interactions with them and that each time they do they’re reminded of you and your blog. For me this is the true value of sites/features like Technorati Favorites which makes your latest posts appear on the front page of Technorati when someone fav’s you.

The Cost of Being Active in Social Sites

There is of course a cost in being involved in so many social online communities and Belle has really touched on the main one in her question – they can take a lot of time to upkeep and stay active in.

Of course this depends upon how active you want to be in them. I find that in each case you can be be extremely active or very passive. For example I rarely do anything more than accept invitations to be friends on LinkedIn and MySpace – however on StumbleUpon I’ve been much more active of late (because it’s so much fun).

I guess you get out what you put in – but for me it’s about being involved at least to some level.

What are your thoughts? Are you involved in social networking/bookmarking?

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.
  • I too find it hard to allocate enough time to devote myself to these commmunities, but I am strivinng to move in that direction. It seems I am spending too much time writing my posts to much time or energy left. I have noticed that they do increase my traffic.

  • These sites will help in making new friends, in increasing our knowledge and indirect SEO.

  • I am no sure how StumbleUpon works. I signed up and have them in my toolbar, but haven’t taken the time to figure out. If anyone has any tips let me know :-)

  • I am not sure how StumbleUpon works. I signed up and have them in my toolbar, but haven’t taken the time to figure out. If anyone has any tips let me know :-)

  • Unfortunately, from a SEO perspective, it’s almost mandatory to be involved in social networks heavily these days. “Social” collaboration sites (not just networking sites) are extremely important when talking about “link love”. On my own personal site, 5% of my traffic is from sites such as Facebook, MySpace, etc. which is pretty substantial.

    It takes time to create an “online presence” in these arenas, but just like everything, if you dedicate an hour or so every week to updating these pages, you should realize some benefits over time.

    In the future, Facebook may be the most important network since it seems to be the closest thing to a “perfect” social networking site especially with the release of their own platform allowing for developers to create applications leveraging Facebook’s infrastructure and user base.

    If I had to pick one to concentrate on for now, Facebook would be it.

  • I have tried a few and have the following observations:

    MyBlogLog has been the most rewarding for me because it is where I have met the most people, gotten the most meaningful traffic, and found the best networking opportunities.

    Stumble Upon has led to some good traffic at times, but few ad clicks, sales, or returning visitors. I have fun stumbling sites myself, but I know that I rarely return to sites myself from it, so I am not surpised. It is just plain fun to play with though!

    MySpace and other sites have been mildly useful and fun, but I don’t think they merit spending too much time on. I get more value out of using the time to write content. I actually have had more fun and meaningful contacts through my personal MySpace page than through my blog page there.

    I really haven’t gotten a lot out of Technorati, but I haven’t taken the time to really get acquainted with it either. I probably should do that.

  • I am a fringe on all of the communities. I occassionally promote my blog and posts on myspace and facebook, but they really only contain people I already know “offline” (as it were). Nevertheless I do try and keep it up, largely because some of my readers who know me offline do often tell their friends about my blog, and so on.

    Interestingly I have started getting more traffic from mybloglog, which is unusual as that has kind of grown without my help. I did recently update a few things regarding my mybloglog profile, and has generated more traffic.

    I documented changing the avatars blog, and how to make them better. Maybe you’d be interested in reading it.

  • I used to use Digg and some other sites a lot, but most of them are filled with screaming 5 year olds that cry “Fanboy” whenever you say something against their opinion. I don’t really care about them anymore.

  • Not involved at all. I should be more involved though.

  • I have been working with Digg and Stumbleupon. They are opposites really, with Stumbleupon it’s relativly easy to send a few hundred visitors to an individual post (I get 100-500 visits per day from stumbleupon – providing I stumble the post). The post just has to be well written, look good.

    However, with Digg the title of the post is far more important. I tend to login to digg a few times each day, add the 4 allowd friends each time (im up to about 150 digg ‘friends’ at the moment). That has increased the average number of diggs for my posts from 1/2 to about 5 diggs on average. That difference has next to no effect on traffic, but after adding another 150 friends and another it should rise up to the 30 or so diggs needed to get on the front page.

    I try write the titles to be informative for regular readers (and if anything else Google), not Digg. When I try to write a title for Digg it just ends up being over-exagerated and doesn’t reflect my post. That may be why I have had limited sucesss with Digg, but stumbleupon remains my sites no1 referrer!… wow this comment is almost a post in itself!

  • Ian

    I find I go through two stages with the various Social Networking sites:

    First stage: I can’t figure out what to do or why I’d want to join. This last a few days or so then I grudging sign up and put time in.

    Second stage: I get addicted to them and spend too much time on them and get no *real* work done at all.

    I find getting the time/benefit balance right all but impossible.

  • I’m actively involved with Digg and StumbleUpon, and I find participation with them easy.

    I also put bookmarking buttons on my sites and blog so any visitor can bookmark me on their favorite social bookmarking service. The button leads to a page with over 50 choices on it. I don’t participate in all 50 of the choices the page offers, but that doesn’t mean they don’t.

  • THese Sites help you to make new frnds :)

  • i got stumbled two times this week. and as a newcomer in this field i ws astonished by no: of visits .lol..
    but social networking is good. it will help you know the psychology of ur readers better and makes possible the interaction btwn them. bt sumtimes they are too brutal.. neways they will help in Search engine ranking..Digg does..i know tht 4 a fact.

  • I would like to be more involved–I suspect they are useful as the field is vast and every tool probably covers a specific bit of real estate. My main complaint is the UI–for the most part I find the sites uninviting to use–peculiar that. But if I spent more (much more) time with them all, that would probably improve for me.

  • There are so many of these sites at the moment, most do the same thing. It will be interesting to see which last.

    The most useless of them is Twitter, but the irony is that one will probably succeed.

    I love Stumble and use it all the time.

    Check out Bumpzee.

  • I think among all these MYBLOGLOG is the best. I daily use it and it helps in bringing traffic plus google adsense clicks.

  • I find MyBlogLog to be the most useful for finding new readers jumping on your blog. The other ones are just there to get the word out.

  • I’ve recently joined StumbleUpon and I have to say that I think it’s an awesome site from both a reference and traffic perspective. It’s a lot better than Digg, in my opinion, because it doesn’t seem to suffer from the “bury brigade” mentality.

    I’ve found a number of great sites through other users Stumbles and have just experienced two consecutive days of high volume traffic as a result of one of my posts being Stumbled. Previous content of a similar standard got 2-3 Diggs whereas the traffic from the Stumble has gone into the thousands.

    Facebook I use almost extensively for my non-blogging contacts and don’t really see there being a cross over. MySpace becomes a waste of time once you hit puberty… I use for the purpose it was intended. To bookmark sites I like rather than use it as some kind of traffic mechanism. Maybe I’m missing a trick there but, as everyone says, it takes a lot of time trying to keep on top of all these different services so my view is familiarise yourself with 1 in each niche and stick with them.

  • I actually think there’s an answer to this question. One wants to get involved with a community where one’s time brings in some reward and new contacts. Profile, relationships and brand reinforcement are good ways of talking about that reward, but I think there’s something more fundamental: if you’re at an online social networking community where no one pays attention to you, you’re in a bad place.

    StumbleUpon in my experience has been exceptional. People there have stumbled my work without me saying anything, and been forward and polite in adding me as a friend, and even open about what they might want promoted or what sorts of links they might like me to come across and evaluate.

    There are plenty of other sites – like Mike above implies, delicious is pretty much for not meeting new people but for getting the sites one likes and uses on hand – but for the purpose of promoting one’s work and giving something back to an online community, you can’t do much better than StumbleUpon.

    The key is the quality of the people and how the structure of the site aids them. You could go onto Myspace forums and yeah, there are people there who are active, but in many of the forums I wouldn’t want to be associated with the things they say. What makes StumbleUpon special is that people really get “into” finding new sites and sharing stuff; the site isn’t a lot of self-promotion but rather people looking to actively share with others. Another site that meets that criteria is probably going to be very hard to find.

  • It is so true that many of these sites become a waste of time – if you do not know which ones are the most valuable. It has happened to me, I have about 50 plus visitors to my blog daily and have this feeling that if youa re not getting 300-500 visits per day, then your blog is “not there” .. well so I tried a few social networking sites and other promotions but “some time” almost lasted a few days of looking around and subscribing and all that..
    I just did not like MySpace, cancelled my subscription within a month or so. I don’t like DIGG. and Reddit are great.

    If I may ask another question in these comments please: What are the best traffic generating websites that can provide targeted audience to the blog? I just don’t like the spikes now and then, though they are fun to watch :) and of course, I understand that good content is the best “quality” traffic generator.

    The social networking sites, they are all in infancy still, but good to watch them grow.

  • I have a stumble upon blog, which does generate traffic but I don’t find that that much of it sticks. I think it is because stumblers want a fast fix of a 10-15 seconds and they keep stumbling. I found out about it because several people stumbled my blog but I have been categorized under graphic design – I wonder if it would be better to be categorized under blogs. Do you have an opinion on that?

    I also find people on Digg to be a bit vicious and hysterical.

  • StumbleUpon is addictive but there are limits to its usage. I Stumbled my own sites about 1/3 of the time and it now looks like my main site – – was banned. Even when other people Stumble it I no longer get any traffic from StumbleUpon. I still love it though :)

    I love Digg as a reader of its Technology homepage, there’s good reading there every day.

    LinkedIn is also very useful but the growing reliance on it by recruiters is becoming a little scary. They love it (understandably) and seem to be hoping that we can all ditch our CVs and use our LinkedIn profile instead. Sounds nice, but if your crazy boss can unfairly tag you in one way or another, it could ruin your career. Litigation would ensue… is great because of the tools and community around it, but I actually prefer Diigo for my own bookmarking.

  • I’ll have to admit. The only social networking site I use for the purpose of social networking is Blogster.

    When I first create a website I like to get my link out there the first day, so I submit to all the major soc networking sites like delicious and reddit. I also use to submit the URL to many soc network sites at once. Helps get my website listed on Google faster.

  • Melissa: Clicking on the Stumble! button in your toolbar will open random sites for you to browse based on the preferences you entered when you signed up (eg technology, movies). If you like the site you can click the thumbs-up button, or the thumbs-down button if you don’t. Or just click Stumble! again to keep surfing. If you want to submit your own articles you can add a Stumble! button to your posts.

    I’ve had one great traffic day so far thanks to StumbleUpon. I also use Digg for the odd traffic boost and I browse it for entertainment and ideas. MyBlogLog sends me a steady amount of traffic and I have a small community there. I tend to ignore the others because it can becoming too time-consuming checking them all.

  • @ Jason

    I just signed up with onlywire – thanks for the tip. Wow, one more site to keep up with…

  • One of my goals for this month was to become more active in making contacts on MyBlogLog, Technorati and StumbleUpon. I also do a little with LinkedIn but not too much other than adding past colleagues since I haven’t paid for the service.

    It is true that you can spend far too much time with the social networking services but I have found a decent balance by limiting which ones I use. So far I have stayed away from things like MySpace and FaceBook even though I have read numerous tales of traffic increases using those sites.

    As others have mentioned, StumbleUpon seems to have some great potential for driving large amounts of traffic without some of the issues related to sites like digg. It is a fun site and probably the one I have been focusing on the most lately.

  • hpk

    i take serious in mybloglog and technorati favourite as well as blogcatalog..i found my blogger friend by doing that kind of social bookmarking and i got lot of traffic from there especially mybloglog..(“,)

  • Yes, I use the social sites.

    photographyVoter, StumbleUpon, Digg, Twitter,, Technorati, MyBlogLog, and MySpace. I have links to all my profiles on the sidebar of my blog so my readers can hook up with me.

    I find that photographyVoter and StumbleUpon are two of my biggest single-source traffic generators — and those two happen to be the ones I’m most involved with. Aside from the traffic, they help me network with other bloggers and photographers in the community. These sites also give me new ideas and fresh perspectives for my own writing.

    I constantly use the social sites. Whenever I hit a story in my feed reader that I like, it goes into StumbleUpon, digg,, Twitter, and photographyVoter (if it’s photography related). I also browse through the stories and links on these sites in search of new feeds to add to my reader. All in all, I might spend a total of 1 to 2 hours per day using these sites — but probably less on most days. It doesn’t take more than 10 seconds to bookmark a good story.

    In the end, I think the really beneficial part of these sites is being able to keep up with fellow bloggers in the niche. It adds a stronger sense of community when you see the same core group of people linked up at various sites. It’s those same people who promote each other’s work, frequently comment on each other’s blog posts, and participate in each other’s projects.

  • Oh my!, I started this and a couple of other site on a whim and a dare from my younger brother. I don’t have any formal training in website building let alone promoting them. I am so concerned about making the investment(all though it small monitartily) a success but the time I have to invest is greater than I thought.

    I have just started joining the social networking sites. I am so over whelmed. I’ll see something I like an I’ll totally revamp my site but then I make more changes the following week. I didn’t realize coding html was so addictive.

    I have participated on a forum or two but I get spoken to so rudley when I drop my url and then called a spammer.

    Still a work in progress….and havin ffun, really I am.

  • I believe that Facebook is now a necessity. I’m calling it the new Google.

    There’s no excuse to join, especially with the new facebook apps. Watch out Myspace!

  • I’ve found it more effective to spend time making meaningful comments on other folks blogs instead of trying to reach them through a social network which seems somewhat roundabout. I suppose the social networks would open you up to more non-bloggers – but I find my time is taken enough as is.

  • I use StumbleUpon, MyBlogLog (my fav btw), Digg (sometimes) and Technorati.

    I just don’t have the time to spend visiting all these social sites every day or every other day…who ya think I am…a professional blogger or something? LOL


  • I use both MySpace and Facebook.

    With MySpace, I basically have a picture link to my blog, but I’ve never felt like it brought in much traffic. I do keep my page updated, but I’m mostly on there for the social aspect of it and don’t spend a lot of time promoting my blog. However, maybe I should do more.

    On Facebook, I’ve set up a site feed so that my blog entries show up as “notes” and it’s updated anytime I add a new post. I haven’t noticed much traffic from there either, but it is more prominent than what is on MySpace. To me, it looks more “professional” and inviting for potential readers to click through to get to my blog. I also keep it updated fairly regularly.

    I think they can be tools to bring in readers, but I’ve never made either of them a big focus in promoting my blog.

  • I use iGoogle as my RSS feed reader and have Digg’s top stories in it, often times I’ll see a hot story that I want to write about so I’ll digg it and get back to it when I have a chance to, since I can’t always stop what I’m doing to write about it. Outside of that, I rarely make a comment and the only time I digg something is when I need to remember it for a later time to write about it. It’s a nice tool that lets me see what is hot in the tech sector of the internet. is a great site that I’ve blogged about in the past, if you are bored, need inspriration or need to know what is hot in the blog world, it is a one stop shop for everything that is now.

    MySpace for me is great to stay in touch with friends whom I wouldn’t normally email on a daily basis and I have used the bulletin posts to drive traffic to my blog, but I’m not super involved in it – hell I don’t even have a fancy custom theme installed!

    I think I’m one of the last people on earth who isn’t a memeber of Flickr or, but they both server a purpose.

    Going through my stats, there are a good number of people who read my blog who do use social bookmarking and social networking, so they are important services and serve a purpose, but relying soley on them can be a mistake.

  • I agree with some other commentators that stumbleupon is best site. It doesn’t take up too much time and seems to be a more positive feel than digg.

    I spend a bit of time at Reddit, but as a rule they are not interested in blogging and related things – its mostly political stuff.

  • I use Facebook a lot now. I empathise with Ian – I first refused to get involved and then when one of my friends kept tagging me in photos, I signed up, and now I am hooked.

    It’s still mainly used for keeping up with my friends and old work colleagues, though I do increasingly have links with other bloggers. I personally think Facebook is really going to take off in the coming year, as it has new features added to it, and yet feels more professional and ‘slick’ than MySpace.

    Though the groups aren’t as advanced as a dedicated forum, they’re easy to use and so it means people are more keen to interact with one another. I also leave all my web links and basic information globally available so anyone can see it. I know a few other bloggers are using it to experiment driving traffic to their sites. Because I have a lot of personal friends on it, and it’s not anonymous, it also keeps me in check about being ‘real’ and not spamming (not that I do anyway!) links. If people are interested, they’ll visit, if not, fine.

    And on that note, the link above takes you to my Facebook profile :)

  • Stumble Upon and are the my favorite social sites, I also use mybloglog to check on new communities. Digg is a great source for news so it adds up to my daily visits.

    But I try to get all the information at one place, so really saves me a lot of time.

    Using social bookmarking sites lets me come accross new ideas and stories I can write about so it definitely helps me in generating ideas.

    I usually allow myself half an hour every morning to go through the sites and then later after work to catch up on the day’s activities but it amounts to one and half hours at the max

  • If you’re a marketer or just want to keep up with what’s really going on the net, you’ve got to start being aware of the social bookmarking and social networking opportunities out there–even if it’s just enough to register and reserve your name.

    In the post you’ve mentioned only six–were you aware that there are at least 130 of them that are very active and worthwhile?

  • I’m enjoying figuring out which posts do best with the various services. I use Digg, Reddit, and StumbleUpon. When I do what I think is a really solid post, I submit to all three. Generally any given post generates significantly more traffic from either Digg or Reddit (I haven’t figured out the reason yet). I got so little traffic from StumbleUpon that I was about to give up on it. Then I did what I thought was a pretty good Blogging 101 post. In my mind I thought it would do well on Digg. To my surprise the majority of new traffic came from StumbleUpon. So… I continue to use all three.

    I *just* joined MyBlogLog. I was leery of it because of the spam horror stories, but it seems many of those problems have been resolved recently, so I decided to try it. The jury’s still out for me on it. I’m getting some traffic, finding some interesting new sites, but haven’t met anyone yet (that’s my responsibility, I know :) and it does still seem a little spammy.

    I don’t use MySpace or FaceBook. I was briefly a Friendster user and had a rather lousy experience with it. I think that kind of soured me on the general social networks.

  • I really think sites like Digg or Reddit are overrated depending on your blogging niche. Honestly, how many people are going to want thousands of drunken obnoxious fratboys coming to your site en masse, nuking your server, trashing your blog and urinating all over the place, only to leave and never come back again? This is how I’m supposed to build meaningful traffic? I think not.

    What some of the A-list bloggers have said is true. You need to blog for yourself, and if the Digg/Reddit/etc. demographic doesn’t really represent the kind of long time audience you think you’ll draw, it’s probably wise then not to spend a lot of time on those type of networks.

  • StumbleUpon is my favorite. I used MySpace now only for a blog from time to time and their classifieds.

    Like many others posted above. They seem to fall into categories on their own after awhile of using them without having to sort it all out up front.

  • I never use myspace, but I use friendster. I create my profile and discussion group. Unfortunately, some of marketers spam my discussion group in friendster. What I have from friendster, it error all the time. I cannot delete those spams.

    Social network mostly created to build relationship, If relationship estabilish, we can start marketing. That what we call permission based marketing. This is much more polite than spam.

  • Steve Madsen

    I’ve never been activate on digg or Stumbleupon but I had a sharp jump in traffic yesterday because someone stumbled a post. This post is very timely as I review my blog promotion tactics.

  • Funny thing is, “/.”, which in some ways seems to have lost most of its glow is sort of the prototype for all these “Web 2.0” social services.

    In fact slashcot is the way I found ProBlogger in the first place. Although I am not a regular there, and certainly feel (perhaps wrongly) that I am nowhere near as acerbic and cynical as the average “slashdotter” I did come to ProBlogger the very first time in order to check out what I was _sure_ was a scam …. “six-figure bloggin” … of course it wasn’t and I’ve become a big Darren fan as well as a (tiny) problogger myself based on that first visit … so “social sites” can certainly influence both blogs and lives.

  • I’ve not joined facebook as it seems far too U.S. centred. Digg provides plenty of entertainment and has produced a few useful stories to blog about but is far too technology orientated for my blog.
    Stumbleupon seems to be the most raved about in the comments above, so I might have to check it out.
    Technorati is very useful for finding out who links to you, but does not seem to provide any incoming traffic. They seem to have added a lot of features, but I’ve not had time to try any of them out.
    Myblog most useful feature is to see where visitors go from my blog, but that does not help my blog!

  • aaah Dave – nice to see one of my old timer readers from the slashdot days is still with us :-)

  • I use most of those listed… actually all. Do I know what I’m doing? not really. These seem to be tools for those with huge traffic already. I don’t understand how my ThaiPulse! blog is going to benefit from them at all… since my readers aren’t hip. If I don’t get it, readers there won’t get it for 8 more years. Also, having lived in Thailand for a couple years the internet here is godawful slow. Mybloglog, Delicious, Techno, Feedburner, MYSPACE, are so slow as to resemble death or moving backwards. The one I like is Stumbleupon – since I click a thumbs up and that’s that. Does it help me? I don’t know! But sometimes I stumble and find cool stuff. Is that all there is to that? I have little knowledge about how to maximize my efforts at these web 2.0 sites and little interest since they take SO much time just to figure out – and then, I don’t know if what I’m doing is having any bearing on anything. Wish I had time to figure them out – but not much sense in it. I don’t like the whole idea – they’re fake and it’s not like building real relationships.

  • Actually, I just signed up for facebook yesterday, in order to so what it is about. I found it all a little mysterious, and difficult to see the point of.

    Why do I want to find people from my schooldays? Or university? Let alone letting the whole work organisation see what i’m up to socially

    Perhaps I need a guide

  • The problem with the social networks is really the time necessary to understand them and leverage them. Unless there’s ‘spare’ time in the day, how would one get the ball rolling?

    Haven’t cracked that one yet, but will use some of the rainy days we’re looking to have this week to learn more. This post’s many links and tips will be revisited a lot.