Social Bookmarking – MediaWiki

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Traditionally, bookmarking was done through Internet browsing software, such as Internet Explorer, Safari, Firefox, or Opera. With social bookmarking, your bookmarks are not confined to one browser, but are stored online.

The following two options are available for enabling social bookmarking on your website:

  • Link to each individual social bookmarking service that you wish to use
  • Use a social bookmarking aggregator such as Socializer or AddThis

Even if you do not have links to allow visitors to bookmark your website, many services allow their users to install toolbars in their browser, which allows your website to be added anyway. Adding these links will help to spread your wiki and its new skin very fast.

Individual Social Bookmarking Services

There are huge numbers of social bookmarking services on the Internet, and quite a number of these have become reasonably popular. We will look at some of the more popular bookmarking services such as:

  • Mister Wong
  • Furl
  • Facebook

Your Wiki’s Audience

One thing to consider before adding social bookmarking service links to your wiki is your audience. For instance, if your wiki is technology-related, you may find it better to use Digg than Facebook, as Digg is more popular than Facebook for your wiki’s intended audience. If your wiki’s visitors are primarily from Germany, you may find Mister Wong more useful than Furl, because Mister Wong is more popular with the German users.

There are many other social bookmarking services available, including Del.icio.us (http://del.icio.us) and StumbleUpon (http://stumbleupon.com), which you can use after asking your wiki’s visitors by means of a poll, or following simple experimentation.

Example of Audience

durhamStudent (http://durhamStudent.co.uk) is a niche website aimed at students of Durham University in the UK:

Social Bookmarking - MediaWiki

The durhamStudent website uses both the methods of social bookmarking discussed earlier, providing links for eKstreme’s Socializer and a link to an individual bookmarking service, Facebook:

Social Bookmarking - MediaWiki

Facebook was linked individually here because it is incredibly popular among the students at Durham University (indeed, the Durham network is only open to those with a university email address). Although Facebook’s bookmarking service is accessible through Socializer, it is also linked separately as the website’s target audience is more likely to use that service than any other.

Mister Wong

Mister Wong, http://www.mister-wong.com, is popular with German and other European users (though not so much in Great Britain), and allows the users to store their bookmarks while maintaining their privacy, with the ability to set bookmarks as “public” or “private”.

Social Bookmarking - MediaWiki

Generally, the social bookmarking services ask for two pieces of information when creating a link from your website to them: the URL (address) of the page or website you want to add, and the title of that page or website, as you wish it to be posted.

Linking to Mister Wong

To link to Mister Wong, create a link where you want your social bookmark to be shown in your MediaWiki template in the following format:

http://www.mister-wong.com/index.php?action=addurl&bm_url=www.example.
com &bm_description=Your+Website

Spaces are automatically escaped with a “+” sign by the majority of social bookmarking services. You don’t have to worry about properly escaping spaces in the title of your link when linking to bookmarking services.

To use these services with MediaWiki, we will be required to use some PHP. In particular, we will need the following:

  • The page’s title, which we can get with <?php $this->text(‘pagetitle’) ?>.
  • The website’s address, retrievable with <?php $this->urlencode(‘serverurl’) ?>.

For simplicity, we will assume that our visitors will always want to bookmark JazzMeet’s homepage, http://www.jazzmeet.com. Thus, the code in our MediaWiki template would appear as follows:

<a href= "http://www.mister-wong.com/index.php?action=addurl&bm_url=www.jazzmeet.com 
&bm_description=JazzMeet" title="Bookmark JazzMeet with Mister Wong">Bookmark JazzMeet with Mister Wong</a>

What Mister Wong Users See

If a visitor to your wiki decides to bookmark your wiki with Mister Wong, they will be greeted with a screen similar to the following, with fields for the address of the website (URL), title, related keywords (“tags”), and a comment about the website:

Social Bookmarking - MediaWiki

They are also given the option to bookmark as either “public”, allowing other Mister Wong users to see it, or “private”, which restricts the bookmarked website to their account only.

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