Discover New Excel Sites Using Del.icio.us
Amber MacArthur, Bill Jelen, Leo Laporte, Andy Walker on the set of Call for Help on TechTV Canada. Del.icio.us is a new website that allows you to discover the favorite sites of others who read MrExcel.com. I tried it out recently and it is a very cool concept. If you have fifteen minutes to spare at work this week, give the Del.icio.us concept a spin. One caution: while Del.icio.us bills itself as a place to store your favorites online, it is a social bookmarking site, meaning that everyone will be able to see your favorites. With privacy concerns, you should not really store all of your favorites at del.icio.us - it is not the appropriate place to store links to your bank accounts and similar sensitive sites. Use discretion when deciding what to post to Del.icio.us. Start by visiting http://del.icio.us/. Use the Sign Up Now area to choose a nickname to use on the service. I chose MrExcel.
You will have to enter some scrambled letters to prove that you are a person and then reply to a confirmation e-mail. You are now at the Del.icio.us welcome page. The goal here is to display your Links toolbar in the browser and install two new links on the toolbar. They offer a little .exe file to do this, but it might be just as easy to go to the Manual page. Here are instructions for using the Manual method in Internet Explorer.
Next, visit the MrExcel home page. When the home page is displayed, choose the post to Del.icio.us button in your links toolbar.
Caution: Has your confirmation e-mail arrived yet? You can't complete the post unless you have confirmed. It might be a strange coincidence, but I've tried signing up a couple of times, and both times, the confirmation e-mail did not arrive until I went to my account and asked for a second verification e-mail. To complete the post, you can optionally add notes about the site and you should add one or more tags about the site. Since MrExcel.com is a site about Excel, you can create a tag such as "Excel". Each tag should be one word. Thus, if you wanted to bookmark a page about pivot tables, you might use tags such as "Excel PivotTable" in order to classify the page as being about Excel and being about pivot tables. The beautiful thing here is that you can create your own tags - if you want to classify things in a certain way, feel free to make up your own one-word tags.
After you click Save, you are returned back to MrExcel.com. Use the button in the links toolbar to go to my del.icio.us. You will see that you have a favorite for MrExcel. This is great, but you will also see that this site has been tagged by 68 other people! This is the interesting part. You can now browse the favorites of people who also read MrExcel. Click on that link.
This next page lists the other people who have added MrExcel to Del.icio.us. On the right side, you can see the tags used by those 69 people. On the left site, you can see the date that the people added MrExcel. This article was posted on December 26, 2005, so any posting during the week are probably new Del.icio.us users. Scroll down to the older links and click on any name. You can see the links set up by that person. The theory is that if the person is smart enough to read the same Excel site as you, they might have discovered other sites that you would like. Sharing Your Favorite Sites with Other Del.icio.us Members
There is a cool feature where you can send your favorite Excel sites to another Del.icio.us member. When you are adding a site, add a tag that says for:MrExcel . This will add the site to your favorites, but also send it to my Inbox. I can then accept the entry and add it to my MrExcel Favorites. I probably have 3-5 favorite Excel sites that I frequent regularly. But imagine if 50 MrExcel readers all sent my their favorite 3 Excel websites. We would quickly have a master list of the most popular Excel sites. Setting up Bundles While you might hang out at MrExcel for work-related tasks, you probably have other interests. One of my hobbies is finding old drive-in movie theatres. I swap pictures of the screentower and marquee with other drive-in historians around the country. So - if I have favorite sites about Drive-ins, I can set up a bundle where my favorites for drive-ins are separate from my favorites for Excel. More Uses
As you can imagine, you can use del.icio.us to bookmark all sorts of sites. If you have a favorite tutorial from my Articles Archive, add it to del.icio.us. Do you have a favorite post by Aladin explaining an amazing formula? Add that to del.icio.us. The possibilities are endless. Bottom Line
The Del.icio.us concept is cool and will allow you to both categorize your favorite sites but also to find sites that other people with your interest like to use. Give it a spin. For the BEST TV show on technology, check out Call for Help. This tip was originally published on December 26, 2005 The permanent URL for this page is http://www.mrexcel.com/tip113.shtml.
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