Social Bookmarking Ethics: 5 Points to Consider

May 22, 2009

Social bookmarking websites are helpful for attracting your desired niche to visit your pages. Like most sites that require registration, there are terms and by-laws that you need to abide by as a user.

However, there are some situations that aren’t covered by the rules. These situations call for good judgement, and your decision could make or break your standing and more importantly, your credibility in the social bookmarking circle.

Usually, the more difficult assessments you have to make are ethical more than technical. Your social bookmarking account represents your brand as it tries to build relationships with your niche. Although you’re online, remember that it is a social bookmarking website. Ultimately, you’re still dealing with people more than links and landing pages.

Here are 5 points to consider before doing anything to your account— so as not to risk people disliking you or your brand.

1. Do I like what I’m about to bookmark?
The point of social bookmarking is to share interesting pages to others in your network. Before adding a page to your bookmarks, think about whether or not the page is something you actually liked reading. Was it helpful or informative for you in any way?

Every time you post something, make sure it adds value:
• Adding your own pages will give you the chance to be heard.
• Adding pages of the same topic from other websites will establish your credibility.

2. Is it worthy of others’ time?
If you’re bookmarking your own pages, make sure that the content is unique and relevant, so as not to waste other people’s time. You don’t want to encourage people to keep associating disappointments with your brand.

Make sure that your content is unique—either in tone, writing style, or information—to set it apart from other pages that offer similar content. Doing so would create favorable associations with your brand, your social bookmarking network will always have something to look forward to and they’ll have a reason to add your pages to their bookmarks.

3. Is it easier for others to find what they need from my bookmarks?
The best social bookmarking websites allow users to organize their lists. When you organize yours, make sure that it follows a logical flow. You might want to keep your own pages together and arranged chronologically. Organizing you pages this way not only highlights your web pages, but it also serves as an update to your social bookmarking network.

4. Am I spamming?
If you’re bookmarking more than 10 links a day, every day, then it might be wise to assess the pages that you bookmark. You don’t want to ruin your credibility by being labeled as a spammer to the point of being banned. This is why it’s important to ask yourself whether this page that you are about to bookmark is:

• Useful
• Informative
• Entertaining
• Relevant

5. Is my social bookmarking page/profile beneficial to others as it is to me?
Keep in mind that you are using social bookmarking websites to foster relationships with your niche. Bookmarking your page can be beneficial to you as it could lead traffic into your website. However, you also have to think about the sustainability of your pages—more specifically you content—to make sure that you remain relevant and useful to your niche.