Social Bookmarking and Social News sites… Same Difference?

Posted on May 19, 2009 
Filed Under Internet Marketing, SEO, Social Bookmarking, Social Media Marketing, Social Networking, Traffic Building

I have recently installed the StumbleUpon toolbar on my site and trust me “I love stumbling!!!!” Jokes apart, it’s been noticed that the netizens are getting addicted to more and more social bookmarking as well as social news sites. Did I hear, “why have different names for the same thing?” Well to a large extent both social bookmarking and social news sites are similar, barring a few differences. However, before venturing onto the differences, let’s have a quick look at what these two applications are.

Social bookmarking is the process of bookmarking your favorite sites online. There are many Social Bookmarking sites that you can login to and store your bookmarks. Not only that, you can even share these bookmarks with your friends. You are given the choice to share a bookmark or keep it private. stumble-upon-social-maximizer1delicious-social-maximizer2You no longer have to limit the sites that you want to bookmark, you can bookmark any number of sites that you want and organize them under different categories or tags.
Some of the Social Bookmarking sites are:, etc.

On the other hand, Social News Websites are communities, which allow its users to submit news stories, articles, and media (videos/pictures) and share them with other users or the general public. reddit-social-maximizer2yahoo-ask-social-maximizer1digg-social-maximizer1Social News websites generally function via “The good judgment of the masses” theory. If you like an article you can vote for it and the articles that gets most votes comes to the top getting maximum viewing.
A few popular social news sites are: , Yahoo! Buzz ,  and more.

Now that we have understood what social bookmarking and social news sites are, let’s move on to the differences (as mentioned earlier, there are only a few minor differences between the two):

Ø      Time Frame: If you have long term benefits in mind & do not mind waiting for some time to get traffic then Social Bookmarking is for you. In Social Bookmarking you get your readers through sharing and tagging of bookmarks over a period of time. Social news site on the other hand is totally focused on what is ‘hot’ news ‘now’. An article or a post becomes popular based on the votes that it gets and what may be popular today might not be in the same top spot tomorrow, it is a constant popularity contest.

Ø      Voting vs. Bookmarking: For social news sites, their strength lies in the fact that any post, story or article can be “voted up” thereby making it popular. Social Bookmarking sites, on the other hand rely on the wide range of sites being submitted, thereby working on the concept that people add and share whatever they find interesting rather than “voting up”. For instance, if you are looking for something specific, say information on a certain video game a social bookmarking site would outscore a social news site. Whereas in a social news website, the more votes a story has got, the more likely it is to be shown on the site’s front page.

Ø      Sharing: A Social Bookmarking site provides benefit both to the bookmarker as well as his “friends list”. This is because the user can share his bookmarks with his list of contacts and vice versa. However in a Social News site, importance is primarily to which article or post is popular at the moment. Social News sites are not built to share information with friends.

Ø      Focus: A Social News Site concentrates more on the news (content), which changes by the hour if not by the minute. On the other hand a Social Bookmarking’s content solely depends on the bookmarks of a user. This is not time bound.

Although Social News sites and Social Bookmarking sites may be slightly different both are of equal importance to a marketer as they both have their good points. You can see that by the immense popularity of both social bookmarking and social news sites. As a marketer you need to target both to get maximum benefit. Social News sites can get you the initial push in traffic whereas social bookmarking sites will help you get traffic over a period of time. In fact, you could say they complement each other perfectly like 2 sides of the same coin!

Please feel free to leave a comment below if you think that there are some more differences which we did not cover.

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