Social Bookmarking For Life Science Business: Applications and Examples

Social Bookmarking for Life Science Business

Social bookmarking applications allow you to save and share information from the web and their utilization might appear useful for personal, not professional reasons. However, the more we depend on information on websites and social networks for our work, the more these sites have to offer us. Here are eight ways you can use social bookmarking applications to organize and share information for your life science business.

  1. Use Delicious to organize bookmarks as a linkable resource.

    If you read this blog or have attended our workshops, you know that we tag links on Delicious, one of the most popular social bookmarking sites, to help our clients and readers learn and refer to web content we think is useful. For example, the ‘soundbytes‘ tag contains links from our blog series of the same name. Similarly, you could save, tag, and provide links to your customers for internal or external content. Beware, however, that links will be visible to others unless you make each private. Most of the tools mentioned here have browser plugins and smart phone applications, making it easy to save, tag, and comment whenever you find a link.

  2. Use Diigo to send collections of links to colleagues.

    You can consider Diigo to be a less popular (for now) but more fully featured social bookmarking site compared to Delicious. What I like about Diigo is that it has a better interface for organizing and commenting on bookmarks; I use the Firefox toolbar. You can create a report including a group of links and the comments you’ve stored for each, resulting in a private document you can share discreetly. For example, you could use it to document your competitors for a product, each link containing comments regarding the competing products’ strengths and weaknesses compared to your product. Again, make sure sensitive links and collections are private, and have your IT group double check if you are unsure.

  3. Use Delicious to find influencers in your field.

    What Delicious may lack in its user interface, it makes up for in its popularity. With so many users tagging links they deem important, you can find the top websites in life science and thus the influencers. Check out the results for searching for tags ‘genome and blog.’ Unfortunately, due to Delicious’ poor interface, the results aren’t sorted by popularity unless you install this script. Now, general social media guidelines will tell you that you’ll also be able to use Technorati and Digg to find the top sites, but I’ve found them to be less effective for life science, as they ‘force’ content into categories that are too broad for our industry.

  4. Submit news items or blog posts to StumbleUpon.

    You can use social bookmarking applications to help your own web content get noticed. Most experts will tell you that these self-created back links won’t do anything for your search engine optimization (SEO). However, anecdotally I’ve heard that StumbleUpon ‘works’ better for SEO than the other social bookmarking sites, and who knows, maybe your content will get noticed and go viral!

  5. Keep social media content consistent and documented using Friendfeed.

    When a company embarks on social media, one of the challenges is keeping track of the content that has been created. Besides keeping an eye on the messaging and voice, there is knowledge gained by those who implement it, such as lists of the best resources in your field, top influencers and success with so-called ‘relationship marketing.’ You can use many applications to track social media content, we suggest Friendfeed as an aggregator of your content, but you could also use RSS or even services such as Packratius to capture all of the links you share on Twitter. You could also create an internal Diigo account for the social media team to document top resources you’ve found. One caveat is that nobody knows how stable these companies are, so ask your IT group about backing up the information periodically.

  6. Use Springpad to organize trips, receipts, and leads.

    Springpad not only stores links, but images and lists as well. I’ve used it to take pictures of receipts and to organize information for a trip in one place to easily refer to on my Droid. It’s infinitely customizable, which I find daunting, but colleague Sally Church has used this to her advantage and created a nice system for organizing scientific, company, and customer information for her pharma consulting business.

  7. Use Storify to show your company’s portfolio.

    Storify allows you to string embedded websites or online activities such as tweets together with captions into a story (hence the name), as we’ve done for the Comprendia online portfolio. Since we have our own blog, we could also do it here, but it would take longer, and hey, everyone likes a cool new tool. Storify is currently in beta by invite only, but if you beg on Twitter like I did (reply to @storify) you may be able to get in.

  8. Use Dipity to document your company’s social media timeline.

    Dipity takes the Storify idea to another level, and provides a time line of embedded online activities. Here is a Dipity time line of the Life Technologies Social Media feed. We used the aggregated RSS feed we made for LIFE Social Media, but unfortunately Dipity doesn’t auto-update the time line (they call it a ‘topic’). You could also use Dipity to follow events such as conferences (using the Twitter hashtag) or to make a time line of your company’s history and press releases, for example.

Hopefully we’ve given you some examples you can use to organize and share information or sparked some ideas for new uses for social bookmarking applications for your business. These concepts are a part of the increasing ‘plug and play’ nature of the web, or the emergence of a so-called ‘semantic web,’ where websites interact well, perhaps obviating the need for companies to have freestanding applications such as blogs. How have you used social bookmarking applications for your life science business? Please share them below.

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2 Comments
  1. Thanks for mentioning my SpringPad post, Mary, glad it was useful.

    A couple of other really useful bookmarking sites I like and use regularly are:

    1. Pinboard – similar to Diigo but different UI, you can import Delicious bookmarks too.
    2. Pearltrees – ditto
    3. Connotea – bookmark journal articles, share with others, find scientists in your areas of interest through tags.
    4. CiteULike – same as Connotea, different UI.
    5. Reddit – similar to StumbleUpon, but has more science articles.
    6. Buzz – perhaps a surprising one, but found it useful for finding out science and biotech consultants interested in debating shared items.

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