Definition: Social bookmarking refers to websites that facilitate discussion and resource sharing within a rigidly tagged & organized taxonomy. Popular social bookmarking websites include Reddit, Digg and StumbleUpon.

In recent years, social bookmarking websites have transformed into dynamic online communities where users not only share and discuss links, but form discussion groups based on mutual interests.

How social bookmarking sites work

Subjects are organized into distinct discussion threads or "rooms." Users can browse or follow specific rooms, receiving notifications to their personal feeds when new content is posted in their.

Links act as the starting point for knowledge sharing and discussion, rather than being an end in themselves. Finding like-minded individuals and connecting with them over common interests is one of the primary appeals of social bookmarking websites.

Moderators are tasked with policing threads to ensure all user conditions are being followed, but the sheer volume of rooms on many sites make them difficult to monitor. As a result, these spaces have a reputation for offensive content, a factor that makes direct business involvement a dicey proposition at best.

How businesses can benefit from social bookmarking

Social bookmarking websites are generally off the radar of online marketers but can still offer subtle benefits. While threads can get crawled and archived by search engines, they're not designed with SEO in mind. Links back to a business' website do not carry high value but still spread brand awareness. Enticing brands or unique sales have the chance to spark engagement on threads relevant to their business.

Interacting with bookmarking sites

Bookmarking sites frown upon direct advertising and spam, so it's advised for businesses to not create threads (spam is actually one of the few thread types that are commonly removed). If moderators in a community perceives that a business' thread is merely advertising, without making a sincere effort to provide informative or entertaining content, there could be a negative backlash.

If references to your business occur on these sites organically, encourage discussion by joining the group and interacting directly with users. Foster a positive online reputation, and users are more likely to seek you out in other online outlets.

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