Your web 2.0 strategy should involve enabling content sharing. Even the most basic of websites should be built to allow users to share content they have found on the web. After Google announced its sharing option in Google Bookmarks, we decided to help you understand the pros and cons of content sharing websites and how they may help you shape your social media strategy. We only selected a few of the content sharing options, as there are currently some 271 content sharing websites available. Something also worth noting is that email makes up the largest portion of all content shared.
- Google Bookmarks. The new kid on the block. At the moment users can share content with other contacts through email and public lists. It is easier to use that the older bookmarking systems and it has the benefit of being integrated into Gmail and Google Buzz. At this stage it is difficult to see how the community will act towards the bookmarking system, and if there will be any further developments, ie “Popular Bookmarks”.
- Stumbleupon. The biggest benefit of Stumbleupon is that users can “Stumble” through the most popular bookmarks available. Like a good box of chocolates, users never know what they are going to get. The downside is that sharing your list of contacts is actually quite hard compared to things like Reddit and Digg. Also the community is quite inactive. Even the most popular content only has about 20 to 30 comments around it, so it is very difficult to guage what people think of the content that is listed.
- Delicious. Probably the least easy to share out of all the content sharing options, but also one of the oldest.. There are no obvious ways to benefit from other people’s lists or content and the way that they bookmarks are created sometimes feels non-sensical. Delicious makes up about 2% of all content shared, but again it is hard to see where the community is. You have to rummage around to find comments, which are not in a nested fashion anyway.
- Reddit only makes up about 0.9% of all content shared through the web, placing it well behind the bigger content sharing systems like Digg and Delicious. The major benefit is the subreddits system which means you can share content with users who are active and interested in your chosen subject. Also, with the way the rating system is structured, if you have genuinely interesting content, there are few barriers to getting the content in front of Reddit’s very active community. The voting system ensures that, largely, only interesting or new content floats to the top. The downsides to Reddit are; their search function is broken and sometimes the community can downvote content based on the way it is submitted, (eg: wrong subreddit or poorly worded title) not on the content.
- Digg is one of the most popular social media sharing communities. It regularly has guest speakers and blog posts by interesting people. The content is always fresh and changing based purely on the volume of people submitting content to the system. The major downside though is that it has become a victim of its own popularity. You pretty much have to rely on getting content in front of one of Digg’s power users in order to spread the word. Also the community is tightly focussed on only a handful of topics, so if you have somethin interesting on origami, it is unlikely you will get it out to the people that might be interested.
- Facebook is the largest content sharing website available. Recently they came out with statistics showing they were also the largest image storage system in the world too. The benefit to sharing through Facebook is you can quickly develop a community around whatever it is you are interested in. You can then go on to share just about anything with your close knit community of crocheters. The downside is there are a few barriers to spreading quickly beyond your own community. There are millions of Facebook groups, some with similar ideas, but it is very difficult to find out where they are and who are the members. Also there is no way of knowing what content is good or bad or what other people think.
- Twitter allows users to share content with less than 140 characters. It is also easy to spread content with use of hashtags. However the downsides to sharing content through Twitter are the short messages themselves. It is very difficult to hold a long debate in less than 140 characters. Also Twitter has a major problem with spam. A large percentage of tweets are either “retweets” or the same tweet reworded. The best content has no way of reaching the top. Through services like ad.ly, people with a large following will be able to get paid to spread content, further pushing up the volume of spam.
Overall you are probably better to use a combination of social media websites to find the content you like and spread the content you enjoy.