If I were to name my gateway webtool, the tool that got me started in trying anything and staying informed in what is available and useful to educators, it would have to be the social bookmarking service at diigo.com. If you haven't ever heard of or tried diigo, the service allows you to save your bookmarks to the cloud so they are available from any computer on the planet. When you bookmark to the service, you can add tags to make them easy to search and find later and a blurb about why you saved it. As powerful as all that is, diigo goes a step further and also allows users to follow each other and join groups to share bookmarks. When I bookmark, I choose whether I am bookmarking only to my account or sharing my bookmark with one of several groups I have joined.
Diigo actually does a whole lot more than facilitate social bookmarking. You can annotate and highlight webpages and PDFs, add sticky notes, and create a pile of things to read later. This is a great service with a robust free plan and great benefits for the educator's account, including create accounts and special links for students to use. Every time I teach a class, I always highlight diigo because it is a great service with a social component.
This week I read a post to the blog at diigo.com about whether diigo should keep the social aspect of their social bookmarking service. People ask me all the time how I find all the things I share, how I find time to look at all the resources I know about. Most times my answer comes back to the social aspect of diigo. When I was a new diigo user, I joined several groups (iPads in Education, Google in Education, Science Education, and, of course, the Diigo in Education group) and quickly found individual users whose interests matched mine and then I followed them. These follows led me to great, innovative educators who I now also follow with other social networks while I reap the benefits of what they share in diigo. Where some educators may shy away from social networks like Twitter or Facebook as professional tools, diigo has a strong professional feel to it and allows people to join a PLN that doesn't have the inappropriate stuff you might find on Twitter or Facebook.
So should diigo keep their bookmarking service social? My answer is a resounding YES, please. If you feel the same way, please let them know.