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Paul Brannan | 11:45 UK time, Friday, 17 August 2007

Observant visitors to our website will have noticed a new feature which we added yesterday. From now on, you will find social bookmarking links at the bottom of all the stories on the BBC News website.

bookmarks.gifThis is what they look like, and you can see how they work by clicking on any story - here's a random example.

If you're not familiar with the concept of social bookmarking, these are sites which allow you to store, tag and share links across the internet. You can share these links both with friends and people with similar interests, and you can also access your links from any computer you happen to be using.

So if you read a BBC story that you find interesting, and you want to save for future reference or share it with other people, simply click on one of these links to do so. All the sites we've chosen are free to use, but they do require you to register before you can begin bookmarking.

We're not the first - or the only - news website to offer these buttons. Others, including the New York Times and the Washington Post, have also added this functionality, and you'll see similar links on many popular blogs. We hope that adding them to BBC News pages will encourage more people to use these services, and in turn, to use them to highlight interesting BBC content.

You can find out more about social bookmarking in this Wikipedia entry.

As you'll see on that page, there are a huge number of social bookmarking sites out there. The five sites we've chosen - Delicious, Digg, Reddit, Facebook and Stumbleupon - are those which we believe are going to be most useful to our audience. We'd be interested in what you think, though, so please do let us know.


  • 1.
  • At 01:53 PM on 17 Aug 2007,
  • Jack wrote:

Great idea, but why haven't you also added the buttons on the Editors' blog?

Good point - we hope to do this across our BBC News blogs soon.

If find these a boon, if only because I have the one set of bookmarked articles on both home and work computers and in the case of on my mobile phone too.

One of the few things on the web that enhances productivity rather than causing you to let you time drift away.

Great addition to the BBC network, I was really glad to hear the news. As an aside (and I'm not sure where else to ask), why is the BBC not reporting on the current SKYPE disaster?! It's massive news and I don't see any coverage at all. These guys are the biggest VOIP providers and their system has been down for more than 24 hours yet no BBC reports?

  • 5.
  • At 05:03 PM on 17 Aug 2007,
  • Adam wrote:

Gosh. Isn't it amazing what young people get up to these days. I'm sure there must be a point to it, but it's lost on me.

Great idea...dare I say "at last"?

I agree with Ged in that they are really useful and time saving (!!) I prefer but only because I've been using it for a while.

  • 7.
  • At 08:53 AM on 18 Aug 2007,
  • wamdue wrote:

so you want us to do the advertising for you?

no thanks

  • 8.
  • At 10:01 AM on 18 Aug 2007,
  • Alex wrote:

I'm pleased to have the new buttons, but the bottom of the page is starting to get really cluttered.

I've always liked the site's elegant design, and whilst it is great to have new functionality, I think that that bottom area is now starting to look unplanned. There seem to be six different elements down there now - for me, the least useful is 'Products and Services'.

Perhaps the whole area could be rationalised somehow?

Rather than limiting yourselves to the 5 sites listed, wouldn't it be better for the BBC to sign up to the "Share Icons" project? One single icon similar to that for RSS & OPML would be cleaner in design terms & avoid excluding other social bookmarking sites.

The Wordpress implementation is in use on my site & I find it refreshing.

  • 10.
  • At 10:22 AM on 18 Aug 2007,
  • J Withers wrote:

This is the internet equivalent of the holiday slides.

When I chat with friends on-line, I'm already given a series of URLs which *they* find interesting and which I'm expected immediately to read or watch. This will only make it worse.

I think this reflects poorly on the BBC - a cheap attempt to increase traffic to your site. Please at least give us an option to turn it off - it is ugly and utterly redundant to my needs.

Additionally - you are essentially linking to commercial organisations - and encouraging their use - from almost every page on the site.

Who decides which social bookmarking sites - the commercial organisations - appear in your "bookmark with" bar?

Good to see more established news site like BBC embracing the modern web :)

  • 13.
  • At 03:43 PM on 18 Aug 2007,
  • Matt wrote:

Great stuff, I've already put a couple of stories on one of my sites and it's (suprisingly) really easy. I like the way you can choose your own image too.

  • 14.
  • At 08:52 PM on 18 Aug 2007,
  • Jake wrote:

i was wondering if it would be possible for the sharing page to open in a new window/tab because once you've pressed share the window closes automatically and so you have to load the bbc website again and lose where you are. thanks!

I have to point out that the Christian Science Monitor web site allowed you to bookmark their stories well before the Times, Post, or the BBC. Still, it's good to have you on board. I am disappointed that you didn't include Magnolia. It's very popular here in the States.

I've socially bookmarked for some time now and I will generally use one of these services to look for information, instead of googling for it. They help cut out some of the clutter.

Another good thing about these sites is that you can see who else has bookmarked the same page of obscure information that you have. By looking at the bookmarks and tags of others you can sometimes find other pages on the topic which you might have missed.

I also enjoy looking at what other people have bookmarked and are amazed that they would openly share this very personal behavior with complete strangers. You can, however, choose to keep an entry private. One of my personas' bookmarks is listed here. I wish I had my tags better organized :-(

My only concern is the choice of bookmarks presented - if you visit Reddit, it's seems primarily concerned with off-beat political news. And Digg is more concerned with niche tech stories, in my opinion.

It therefore gives the impression that the BBC selected a few social book marking sites on the basis of these sites being popular, rather than because they actually have any real connection with BBC news coverage.


  • 17.
  • At 06:58 PM on 19 Aug 2007,
  • Anand Kumria wrote:

This is a great idea!

I'm all for using taxpayer money to fund other companies and organisations.

Why not add fark, slashdot, magnolia or one of the other hundred or so social bookmarking sites?

Useful sites (e.g. delicious and magnolia) provide their users with tools they can use in their web browsers to tag, and mark, what they believe is interesting.

Without having to involve the website in question. And without having to spend taxpayer fund on this crap.

But I guess this is the new BBC where so long as a corporate interest is involved (witness the iplayer), it's all okay

  • 18.
  • At 10:00 PM on 19 Aug 2007,
  • Steven Martin wrote:

What we really need is the ability to comment on stories as they appear. I'd like to see a "discuss" button underneath each article.

  • 19.
  • At 07:00 PM on 20 Aug 2007,
  • Mike wrote:

I think the current implementation makes the buttons too obvious and distract from any remaining credibility the BBC may have left.

Instead I suggest removing the links and run a story on how you can add javascript bookmarks/favorites to your browser. These bookmarks will perform the same function and return the news articles back to their professional look.

If you don't think there is a big enough audience for such a story then surely there isn't a big enough audience to put these links on every page.

I'm kind of surprised, really, by the negative comments about this. Seems to me, like most things 'Net related, if you don't like the buttons, ignore them. For some people they are a useful tool... to you, they are obviously about 10k or less worth of graphics that needs to download... a touch less than 1 second of download time, as an average...

You don't like 'em, don't use 'em!

Seems simple enough to me.

  • 21.
  • At 09:01 AM on 21 Aug 2007,
  • Alice wrote:

We at Newsvine were very disappointed to see that a button for the site was not included. Newsvine is a very high-traffic site and, if I'm not mistaken, it sends a lot of visitors to the BBC site.

  • 22.
  • At 01:18 PM on 21 Aug 2007,
  • Andrew wrote:

Yes, definitely agree. Newsvine's a huge community and sends a ton of traffic.

  • 23.
  • At 04:44 PM on 21 Aug 2007,
  • Conrad wrote:

The Share Icons Project looks great - less clutter and not favouring some sites over others.

BBC - make the switch

  • 24.
  • At 06:32 PM on 21 Aug 2007,
  • Richard Turnbull wrote:

I think this is awful! At what other time has the BBC put other sites logos anywhere on their site aside from when they feature in the story? Is this a groundbreaker? They mention the New York Times and Washington Post having the same system - er, well they are commercial sites carrying paid for advertisements. The joy of the BBC is the lack of this, and I believe thats what we are paying for through the license fee.

Stop polluting our site and get them off!

  • 25.
  • At 06:59 PM on 21 Aug 2007,
  • Adrian wrote:

A useful addition, but I agree that the pages are beginning to get pretty cluttered. I hadn't heard of the Share Icon Project until now, but it looks like a great idea to me.

  • 26.
  • At 12:25 AM on 22 Aug 2007,
  • Atif Rashid wrote:

God, some people can be negative about anything.

A positive move on the whole, but I agree that the story pages seem to be getting ever more cluttered. Does anyone actually use the 'services & products' bit?

  • 27.
  • At 07:18 PM on 26 Aug 2007,
  • M wrote:

Why not link all stories to the Have Your Say section, and have one `comment` link at the bottom of each story?

Every time a story is created a `Have Your Say` discussion would automatically be created - to input all comments, from spelling to bias to valuable feedback etc.

This would catch all interest about a specific story. After a week or two, the `Have Your Say` discussion (accessible only from the comment link) would automatically archive and the discussion would appear as a closed text addendum to each story.

Further to my previous post, I'm glad to see that the Guardian has decided to implement the "Share This" icon which can be seen on the science section.

Come on BBC, don't be too stubborn to learn.

  • 29.
  • At 02:40 PM on 13 Sep 2007,
  • Davina wrote:

I'm loving the new bookmark links. As has been mentioned the services to have the ability to add toolbars to your browser and at home that's fine. I have them all installed and bookmark at the press of a button.

At work it's not so easy. I can't install things on my machine here so it's great to be able to bookmark directly from the article!

  • 30.
  • At 08:49 PM on 12 Nov 2007,
  • Mike wrote:

In the BBC editorial guidelines it specifically states that the BBC should not endorse any companies their products or their services. It also states that the BBC should only add links when there is an editorial reason to do so. Adding these buttons is nothing more than an advertisement for a small sub-set of social bookmarking companies. Social bookmarking companies are news worthy both as social phenomena and as businesses and it weakens the BBC independence to report on these companies when they specifically endorse their products.

If you value the independence of the BBC (and I do) or if the BBC values its licence fee then the icons should go.

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