The Problem With Delicious, Facebook and Twitter’s ‘Follow’ Feature

When I first decided to create LinqBox, I was excited about the idea of creating both something that I can actually be a user of, and something that can be valuable regardless of how many other users use the service. Dating sites, social networks, are only truly valuable to users if there are a significant number of other users on the site.

I wanted to create a simple online bookmark manager where users can save and access their links from anywhere. If you are someone who hates having to find that very informative article you saw a while ago, or that very funny video, and wish you had just saved it somewhere other than your browser at work, this is a useful service regardless of whether or not your friends think so.

But I also saw the benefit of being able to share those sites that I found important enough to bookmark, with friends. But doesn’t the bookmarking service Delicious do this already? Besides having a really, really stupid name, there is a serious problem with Delicious’ follow feature, and it’s the same problem Facebook and Twitter have.

People are complex beings and have many interests. I have certain interests in common with some friends and family that I do not have in common with others. When I subscribe to you on Twitter or Facebook, I get to see not only the stuff you post that interests me, but also all the crap that I couldn’t care less about, some of which I may even find offensive. You may be interested in what I have to say about entrepreneurship, but you might not want to read my political rants. The same goes for Delicious. I don’t want to follow the ‘whole’ you. I want to see only your bookmarked links that are related to stuff that I care about.

This is why I decided to create “boards” as a way to separate your links based on your interests. You can think of boards as ‘folders’ as other bookmarking services call them. I haven’t yet implemented this feature, but what I envision is friends having the ability to pick and choose which interests they have in common with me, and then subscribing only to those boards they care about. Not that this is an entirely new concept, as I quickly found at least one very popular service that had this flexible ‘follow’ feature, but at the time I thought of it, I thought I had invented it. :)

My vision for LinqBox is first, for it to be a simple tool where you can save your personal bookmarks, while at the same time being a place where you can check out what your friends are finding important enough to bookmark. I still find myself sharing links via email, and it would just be a lot easier if my friends could just subscribe to my link boards.

Social Bookmarking

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