Tools: Social Bookmarking

Social bookmarking tools help you organize and share links to articles, videos, images, websites, social media – any online content you wish to collect.

You can also share your collections with colleagues and students. This is a great way to provide students with links to resources for research and exploration.

Why Use a Special Tool Instead of Posting a List of Links in a Doc?

Social bookmarking tools are created for the sole purpose of helping you curate resources. They are already set up to open links in new tabs, they usually pull in site descriptions, and clearly indicate where the person who clicks on the link is heading.

When you post lists or URLs in a document or LMS, you need to be sure you add alt text to the URL and specify that it open in a new tab or else your students will 1) not know what they are clicking on, and 2) find themselves off in the aethersphere far away from your course.

Social Bookmarking is great for education. Students can create lists of research resources, collaborate on creating curated lists, and track their own web content. Instructors can share lists with students and/or colleagues. Also, users can choose not to share at all if preferred – private lists can be useful too.

Characteristics of Social Bookmarking Tools

Social bookmarking tools, like most other web services, come with a variety of attributes. Most offer:

  • both free and paid versions
  • the ability to share lists publicly or keep individual lists private
  • multiple ways to share lists through social media
  • apps for your mobile devices
  • many offer browser plugins to easily grab content

Some tools, like Diigo, generate lists in plain text. Others, like Pinterest, focus more on visuals than text. Others fall somewhere in between, depending on how much effort you wish to put into making your lists visually appealing. Some, like Evernote, are multi-purpose tools that can include  project management and collaboration.


Trello – I’ve been using Trello as a project management tool for a few years and recently tried using it for social bookmarking. The background image is customizable, and topics can be color-coded. The addition of clickable URLs is not as intuitive as other tools, but it works. Here is my Trello example. – This is great tool for pulling in new content. You create a “newspaper” and set how frequently you want it to update; tags are used to pull content in from the web. You can also “stick” URLs that you want to keep on the page. Here is my example of a Bullet Journal-related collection.  SUNY also uses for the Online Teaching Gazette.

Pearltrees – I recently discovered this tool in a professional development course through the Online Learning Consortium (OLC). It is by far the easiest social bookmarking tool I’ve tried, and is quickly becoming my favorite. It is easy to create collections and add content. URLs, videos, text, and images are all supported. Also, the background and all the collection cover images are customizable – I had fun choosing pictures from my camera roll to personalize it. My Pearltrees example is here.

Wakelet – SUNY published a Wakelet of the new Chancellor’s inauguration; that was my introduction to this tool. When I saw the example from SUNY I thought perhaps content was pulled in by tags, like a twitter feed, but that is not the case; content URLs are added to Wakelet by the user. I put together a sample here to see how it works; it was easy to add links to it and share it without any problems.

Other Social Bookmarking Tools

  • Diigo – Organize, annotate, and collect links; share with groups
  • Dragdis – Collect images, links, videos and texts you find online quick and easy with drag & drop
  • Dropmark – Create visual collections; collaborative
  • Evernote – great for general organizing, web clipper, ability to email content into Evernote, collaborative, tag-based. I haven’t tried to share any curated lists from Evernote yet so cannot show an example at this time.
  • LiveBinders – nice for combining documents and links
  • Pinterest – create visual boards
  • – share curated content to help build your personal brand
  • Symbaloo – gather resources to create a page


Judith Littlejohn September 18, 2018

Image: Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:Social Bookmarking.png,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository,  https://commons.wikimedia.or/File:Social_Bookmarking.png Accessed  9/18/18.