At the time it seemed to be a great idea.

There was a time, not so very long ago, when I always carried a diskette with my bookmarks file in my pocket. In the classes that I taught I always emphasized that bookmarking was the first important step toward making sense of the web, of defining our own usable or workable space within the vast and amorphous reaches of cyberspace. And since I was frequently in front of numerous computers, but on the whole wanted to access pretty much the same sites, the concept of online bookmarks via Backflip, or SaveThis was most definitely an idea whose time had come. Judging from the fact that almost tens of sites of this sort flourished for a while, others apparently felt that need as well, or at least some entrepreneurs identified it and tried to cash in on it.

I don't know how many people I convinced to open accounts on these sites, but I'm sure that it wasn't many. Apparently they didn't feel the same need that I did. Or perhaps these people were ahead of me in realizing that a blind reliance on bookmarks wasn't going to be necessary in what was then the not too distant future.

And of course these bookmarking sites also tried to branch out. SaveThis was perhaps the exception. It stayed pretty much solely a personal bookmarking service, though it let users view the pages most bookmarked via their service (these were predominantly articles on CNN and not particularly interesting). BackFlip, on the other hand, tried to make the idea of sharing bookmarks a jumping board toward "community" and thus generate greater hits on their site, and ultimately greater advertising revenues. They therefore invited me to view what others had bookmarked, though I had no reason to assume that someone who'd posted his or her list of sites dealing with say, online learning, was actually an expert in the field. The few times that I checked lists that other people had made public on BackFlip I was disappointed, though actually from the start I didn't have many expectations. And anyway, all I really wanted to do was keep my own bookmarks online.

Go to: Bye-bye Bookmarks