Support Your Native Tongue

 - Jun 11, 2007
References: mister-wong.de
Who on earth is Mr. Wong?

He is “master of all book marks,” according to the German social book marking web site, mister-wong.de.

Why, at a time when the web is brimming with so much content that our brains are headed towards information overload, would anyone add this site to their bookmarks? And what the heck is this social bookmarking thing anyway?

The web is chock full of informative (and sometimes useless) sites about all sorts of interesting and bizarre topics. To find pages on a topic of choice, surfers used to rely on search engines like Google or Yahoo. Only one small problem: all results are displayed in an order dependent on special algorithms. The sites that make the glorious top 20 lists on Google or Yahoo get almost all the traffic, while the rest (many of which are top notch sites) get buried away in cyber space.

Well, grab your shovel, 'cause it's time to start digging 'em out! Social bookmarking is a new method of searching and has already won over the hearts of geeks and everyday surfers alike.

Popular in North America, the trend appears to be sweeping its way over the rest of the world. These sites allow users to give out their own ratings. Links are then ranked according to how many users “tag” them, or add the pages to their favourites.

That's the beauty of these sites: there is no one person, or small group of people telling you where to go. The entire community decides which sites make the top, and that is the secret behind the success of these sites. People are far more likely to listen to tips from another person than a machine.

Users can access their favourites from any computer in the world. These pages are categorized and easily sorted through the use of “tags”. Users share their favourites with others, build groups and learn to navigate the net with likeminded strangers from around the world.

The same trend can be observed in journalism. More and more people are turning to blogs as a source (or supplement) to the daily news.

Social bookmarking works with the same concept, catering information by real people, to real people.

Thousands of these sites have emerged in English, but none have made it big in alternate language markets. Mr. Wong hopes to solve that problem by offering a German alterative that lets users bookmark, join and create groups, add buddys, download the Firefox tool bar, and use the blog-button/wordpress plug-in.

It's still a mystery if blogs will become as big in other languages as they have in English. There is so little content available in other languages at this point, that even those whose first language is not English end up on these sites.

The more people participate, the more information can be gathered, the more traffic the sites receive, and as a result, the more interesting content can be made available.

If you speak another language, support your native tongue and join a social bookmarking site in a second (or third, or fourth) language.