Why I’ll never use Delicious again

I want to like Delicious, I really do. I’ve been using it to trap links of interest for a while now, and as someone who’s probably used 10 different computers regularly in the last few years, it seemed a handy way to store content I want to access again later, from anywhere. I installed the Delicious extension in Chrome recently and that made it easier and more likely that I’d share and tag links.

But my days with Delicious are over.

The social networks that have stood the test of time so far (“time” in Internet world meaning more than a year or two) have constantly added functionality, features and new design. Facebook does it every few months, it seems. Delicious, for whatever reason, never seemed to graduate into a really robust, useful platform for people to share and save content. It was hard (nearly impossible) to import and find friends, the interface was ugly and clumsy, and search was frustrating. It earned the moniker “Where links go to die” and that’s not too far from the truth, in my case.

It’s too late for Delicious. Google Reader has completely lapped it.

Google Reader started as a way to keep track of blog feeds, and I didn’t use it much beyond that. But then they began rolling out more useful features. You can tag and star items and organize feeds into folders. Then Google rolled out the “Share” function, which, with one click, allows you to post to your own public feed any item from your reader you wished. Google added the ability to find and follow friends via Google Reader and see, right from within your reader, what they are sharing. You can add notes and comments on items or send an item to someone via eMail. And let’s not forget the nifty ‘Trends’ stats feature (this is Google, after all) that shows you which feeds you’re most engaged with. (The official Google Reader blog is a great resource on all these features.)

For a long time, the only thing that kept me saving items to Delicious was the concept of “discovery.” Anything I wanted to save, share or tag in Google Reader was limited to feeds I was already subscribed to. If I happened across something on the Web or clicked to a link from Twitter, I didn’t have a good way to get it into my reader. Plus, I often found a single post interesting and bookmark-worthy, but had no desire to subscribe to the entire blog.

So, it was a two-party system for me: Google Reader to share and save the most interesting posts from among the feeds I already subscribed to, and Delicious for tagging and saving sites I randomly “found” out on the Web.

But it doesn’t have to be this way!

Google Reader has a “Note in Reader” bookmarklet! It does! And it has for two years! Drag the bookmarklet onto your browser’s toolbar, and wave goodbye to Delicious. The bookmarklet lets you save and/or share anything you find on the Web into your Google Reader. You can add notes and comments, just like you would on a blog post. I don’t know how I missed this feature, but to me, it pretty much means the end of Delicious.

The “Note in Reader” feature completes the content consumption round trip for me. Using Google Reader I can:

  • Subscribe to a blog or Web site’s feed to receive all its content
  • Arrange and sort feeds into folders and bundles
  • Star, tag, like, annotate and share specific items from those feeds to my own public “shared items” feed
  • Find and follow friends via my GMail contacts or other social networks, or even search for people via keyword or location, and then see and subscribe to items they are sharing
  • View recommendations for new feeds that Google generates by comparing my interests with feeds of users similar to me
  • Share and save content into my Google Reader from anywhere on the Web I happen to find it

I haven’t tinkered with Google Buzz much, but obviously Reader and Buzz are easily integrated so you can share items across that platform, too.

(I’m not even going to get started on Google Reader Play, which is possibly the biggest time suck I’ve ever seen – it curates and presents fun and interesting information from the Web it thinks I may like into a visual slideshow type of format and lets you share, like and save right from the screen. I’m talking hours lost here discovering fun stuff.)

So I’m sorry Delicious. I can’t even say that it was fun while it lasted, because it was always a bit cumbersome. It’s too bad we have to part ways, but with “Note in Reader” and all the other amazing options Google Reader offers, can you blame me?

Check out what I’m reading, saving and sharing via Google Reader here.

My blogging birthday: Mengel Musings turns one

It doesn’t seem possible, but tomorrow marks the one-year anniversary of Mengel Musings. From my first, very tentative post to my 100th post Wednesday announcing my new job at readMedia, it’s been a fantastic first year as a blogger. This space has been a way for me to explore the rapidly changing world of PR and communications, force myself to write on a somewhat regular basis, converse with smart people from across the Web and around the world, and even learn a little bit of CSS.

Here’s a retrospective:

Three most-viewed posts in the last year

These posts saw the most traffic on my site. The numbers are probably not totally accurate as some of my posts were syndicated to SocialMediaToday.com and my stats here don’t reflect those page views. But all-in-all, these were popular (in the case of the McDonald’s post it was largely due to Google searches — it still gets traffic daily):

Five reasons corporations are failing at social media
Locally targeted McDonalds ads turning heads
(tie) How I use Google Reader without going insane
(tie) Six ways to add social sizzle to internal communication

Three most-commented-on posts in the last year

I try very hard to respond to commenters and engage in dialogue, so some of these comment numbers are a bit inflated since many of the comments are my own. Still, these posts generated good discussion among readers. In second place with 48 comments was the ‘Five reasons’ post listed above, so I skipped it and moved to the next on the list:

Allan Schoenberg: My Twitter “Patient Zero” (57 comments)
“Become a fan” of Facebook brand fatigue (45 comments)
Can “sponsored journalism” really work? (33 comments)

Three posts that are my personal favorites

These are the posts that, while they may not have gotten a ton of traffic, comments or retweets, are posts that I am most proud of, enjoyed writing the most, or that I think show some of my best thinking:

Where the boys are (hint: in the business school)
Are corporate communicators hopeless in social media?
Anatomy of a social media product launch: Screenr

Year two and beyond

What’s next for Mengel Musings? Well, I may not be posting quite as frequently as I get up to speed in my new role. Secondly, the topics and focus of this blog will probably shift a little. Since I’m now out of the corporate communications world, I’ll be writing less about that. You’ll probably see more posts about how the news and media landscape is shifting and the challenges and opportunities that presents for PR professionals– especially in regards to local news content.

I’ll still write a lot about social media, but I (and many others) am ready to move on from the Shiny Object Syndrome that captivated us all in 2009 and talk more concretely about how social media participation provides value for organizations – how and why companies are using social media to generate sales leads, support integrated paid/earned media campaigns, enhance customer service and loyalty, and provide real value.

Thanks for sticking with Mengel Musings throughout the first year, and I hope you’ll hang around to see what year two has in store. Check the archives and tell me what was your favorite post of the last year. What would you like to see more or less of going forward? As Jason Falls always says, the comments are yours. Let me know.