First, there's personal organization. I could never get the hang of bookmarks and folders, and it was hard to remember what to search for.
Then there's social discovery. I check my del.icio.us once in a while in order to find out what the latest bookmarks are in a certain area, although I'm now slightly annoyed about the fact that most bookmarks are either stuff I've already seen or stuff I don't care about.
So that's not what I really like, either.
I somewhat like using del.icio.us to share URLs, but those tend to be special-purpose tags we've agreed on beforehand. I don't really tell people to check out my http://del.icio.us/sachac/social links, for example, because there are just too many links for people to sort through properly. It's the problem of navigating through someone else's personal information space.
Social search a la http://myweb2.search.yahoo.com isn't that big for me either because (a) I'm not connected enough to get much better search results, and (b) I don't trust that all the relevant sites have been bookmarked, so I may as well go through a regular search engine.
On the other hand, using event- (http://del.icio.us/tag/torcamp) or issue-oriented tags like digitalpinay (http://del.icio.us/tag/digitalpinay) made it easy to quickly gather bookmarks without having to set up some kind of groupblog or wiki.And I totally, totally, totally love checking out people's bookmarks and getting an idea of their interests.
That's my killer app for del.icio.us. Stalking. ;) No, no, it's called keeping up with old friends and making new ones.
And that's why people check out my bookmarks, too. Okay, well, they don't really have a choice because I include my bookmarks in my blog feed for my tech-savvy friends who read lots of blogs, so other geeks can't help but notice whenever I bookmark tango websites and whatnot.
I wonder if there's a business use for this, like the way I would _really_ like being able to flip through other people's bibliographies. Stuff like that.
I CAN DO THIS. I just have to make sure that it's not a solution in search of a problem! <laugh>
See, PhD students can spend time figuring out what the problem is and then thinking up a solution. What's a master's student supposed to do?
Check out http://www.oks.ph , a Philippine social news site along the lines of digg.com . Stories are bookmarked and voted on by users, and popular stories are displayed on the front page. It's a new site and doesn't quite display properly on Mozilla Firefox, but hey, it's nice to see other Filipinos into social bookmarking... =)
One of the most wonderful things about social bookmarking research is, well, how very social it is. We congregate around our systems like the way people used to gather around water coolers. I love the way that the first impression I get from a page is not of link counts or tags, but of people with varied interests, and I want to improve support for collaboration in order to bring people out even more.
Another remarkable thing about social bookmarking is that people into it _love_ sharing information. They share bookmarks, bibliographies - heck, even blogs. I can browse around a social bookmarking site and get a sense not only of what I need to know about the system itself but also the other hobbies and interests of the early adopters.
It's an amazing field to get into, and very very exciting.