You may have noticed my feed has been changing over the past week. Here’s why.
It is because my original social bookmarking site, Delicious (now del.icio.us) has been in a death spiral, with its export function dead, its RSS completely erratic, and most recently its API also deceased. Desperate to find a work-around, one of the places I tried was Packrati.us. The dead API meant no go, but Packrati’s founder Marc Mims, reached out to me and told me about the API problem, and also told be about D.A. Guitierrez (@dagutierrez) who was offering to scrape Delicious accounts to create export HTML files. Thanks, Marc!
I reached out to D.A. and he was as good as Marc said. I had my complete set of links with all data within a couple of hours. And D.A. also offered a list of alternatives to Delicious. Thanks, D.A.!
Over the next few days I tried several of the free alternatives, and those efforts, along with changes to my RSS posting procedure, resulted in the changes you might have noticed in my postings. So here’s the skinny on Memit, Raindrop and Refind, just to give you some idea.
Memit.com is very visual with a tile approach (even their list involves giant tiles). Social network links are strictly for connecting to people, not exporting or posting finds. Strong support for multiple cloud storage services. It is totally free. I found Memit one of the most time-consuming of the services to set-up. There is no user guide, help, FAQ or support section. So for example, I never found an RSS option, although there may be one somewhere. I checked wherever I could and did a Google search with “site:memit.com” but had no joy. So it is a bookmarking site, but social only in the most you-to-friends sense of the word.
Raindrop.io works well as a social bookmarking service. it offers a lot of visual customization options and can display the item, its tags and description. One problem I found was some HTML imports result in every tag becoming a new collection (even though all of them were empty). Collections is Raindrop’s term for folders. In that case, I was faced with 200+ collections to individually delete (no multiple selections possible). The RSS feed can be done by collection, so if you want all of your bookmarks public, they need to be in one collection. Raindrop does provide widgets, help pages and findable support staff to ask questions. The biggest downside was that their RSS post actually puts out the entire article in the feed (most other social bookmarking sites give the title, URL and sometimes the first couple of lines). So when you saw a post on my social media site appear and then disappear, that was my experience with Raindrop’s RSS. Between that and the need to delete 200+ unintended collections, I am not using Raindrop.
Refind.com is what I have currently settled on. It does a great job of alerting me to new reads in my areas of interest. It does such a good job of this I’m thinking of replacing Flipboard with Refind. The visual model is tile-based, and pretty much fixed. The browser widget let’s you add tags, but no descriptions (that would be my #1 suggestion). Refind does an excellent job to integrating with social media feeds and postings, and gives plenty of help in how to do this. When it posts via RSS, you get the item name, first sentence and the tags you create. Finding help and support is also easy. Clean, free, visually pleasant, and good at finding relevant materials to share. Close enough for jazz, and it’s what is powering my social bookmark posting right now.
D.A. alerted me that Pinboard.in bought Delicious a day or so ago, and the plan is to offer some sort of migration path to Delicious users. I’m looking forward to the contact from the new owner and a chance to see how Pinboard.in would work.