If you do decide to explicitly publish your bookmarks in a sidebar widget on your blog, it may change the way you bookmark. It did for me, anyway. The balance shifted away from purely personal information management and toward the kind of editorial sensibility that governs the blog. It was around this time that private bookmarks became available in del.icio.us, and that’s been helpful. If I’m researching something and I just want to collect a list of resources labeled with some obscure tag meaningful only to me, there’s no need to flow that stuff onto my blog page. Conversely, if I want to draw attention to something in a public way, I can. It sounds great in principle, but in practice I think the friction involved in making that choice on a per-item basis made me less likely to bookmark either publicly or privately.
Here’s another unintended consequence that illustrates the surprising things that can happen in this web of information we are spinning. I realized the other day that my public del.icio.us bookmarks are appearing on every page of my mothballed InfoWorld blog. To stop that happening, I’d need to tweak its template — but I no longer have access to it!
Meanwhile, ironically, I haven’t yet figured out how (or whether) I can inject the del.icio.us JSON feed into the hosted WordPress blog I’m running here. For now, I’ve decided to embrace this constraint. Perhaps if my del.icio.us account feel less directly connected to what I am publishing now, I’ll use it more freely.
These scenarios are rather odd, quite interesting, and slightly scary. As building software systems with components morphs into building information systems with feeds, they’ll become increasingly common.