Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Mento.info - a new tool for social bookmarking

EDIT: I was thinking that possibly some of you who are reading this may not be familiar with social bookmarking as a concept and how it basically works and why it is a good thing. Common Craft made this great youtube video that describes this idea in plain english. Scroll to the bottom of the post to check it out!

I have been using the social bookmarking site del.icio.us for almost 2 years now ever since my good friend and sometimes boss Jeremy introduced me to it it. It has been extremely useful to me over the years. Now, I barely use browser bookmarks anymore and leave my links to be indexed by my [semi-anal :-)] tagging system. Very frequently I use it to dig up sites that I sort of remember but can't think of the address, to click a hard-to-remember URL, or to find material that I have tagged on a certain subject like thoughtful or photography or PostGIS.

Del.icio.us didn't do everything for me that I wanted though. Unless you have an account, I cannot share my bookmarks with you (and even then, it is a little clunky... you have to log in to see if there are any links for you). I used to share a lot of links with Carrie through the share feature in Google Reader, but there were sometimes when I wanted to share links with only her and not all of my contacts who use Reader (Dear Google, I think that should be an option... private sharing). So what I have been doing is just composing an email each day I have some links to share, but that isn't very easy to do... Well I guess it's not that hard, but I want it to be easier.

Recently, I saw in Leo Laporte's twitter that he is using a new service called Mento.info. I have just started using it and I love it! Here are some of what sets it apart from the crowd.
  • Mento makes it incredibly easy and fast to send a quick link to a friend. They do not have to sign up for an account as it just sends them an email. Whenever I send a link to someone, I can decide whether it is public or private. If it is public, it will automatically post on my shared links page for anyone to see. If it is private, only me and the recipient will be able to view it.
  • I can also see when the recipient has clicked on the link and there is some lightweight feedback (they can give it a plus or a minus... but I haven't explored that feature yet).
  • Mento can be configured to automatically cross post its items to other social bookmarking sites (I have my del.icio.us configured) as well as post your finds to Facebook.
  • My FAVORITE and very unexpected feature though is that Mento has a firefox add-on that allows the user to take optional screenshots of the page to be bookmarked. It is extremely user friendly and really adds so much to the process.
While I will continue to use del.icio.us for my technical bookmarks, I will probably use Mento.info to post items that are more creative/visual and to share links with others easily. I can think of so many situations where people could use this service such as if you were redecorating a room. Instead of trying to remember which bookmark you saw the orange/brown color combination by reading all of the 30 text bookmark titles, you could breeze down easily through your snippets and visually find what you were looking for. If you were shopping for a car or an apartment, instead of having a huge list of links, you could visually find the apartment with hardwood floors that you were thinking of or the yellow VW GTI with the sunroof.

This is a great little app and I am completely sold on it. If this has been done before, let me know in the comments and I'll check that one out too, but I believe this is a new idea. Mento.info is still in beta right now so you cannot just sign up. You can either contact me and I will send you an invite or if you are a little shy, you can go to the mento.info main page and sign up to receive an invitation (it will take a few days).

I hope you are enjoying my posts so far. I always appreciate feedback so let me know your comments and criticism! I promise I won't get too upset. ;-)

Social Bookmarking in Plain English by Common Craft


  1. finally a new post! this mento thing actually looks pretty great (sorry for calling you a nerd!). I will sign up tonight!

  2. good one nerd! :) Great write-up and thanks for the invite.