I’m not one of those people who has their online bookmarks in any kind of organized fashion—I basically have one big list ordered by when I bookmarked them. So I’m not even sure how I ended up using Diigo, which is primarily advertised as an online bookmarking tool. But somehow I ended up installing it a while back and I’m glad I did, because it has some other features that really make my life easier as a blogger.
What is Diigo?
Diigo’s primary function is to help you organize bookmarks to your favorite web pages in an online repository. You can make the bookmarks public to share with others or keep them private. You can also annotate and highlight the pages you’re bookmarking, which is a good feature if, like me, you frequently bookmark something and then when you go back to it, can’t remember why. 🙂 It also lets you make screen captures of full or partial pages, send links to email, Facebook, and Twitter, and even write a blog post from it. And it has this feature that they call Outliners that I’ve never really figured out but it has to do with organizing all the pages you’ve saved.
I use almost none of these features. But before I tell you how I DO use Diigo, here’s a bit of info about how to set it up.
Installing and Setting Up Diigo
Go to www.diigo.com and sign up for an account.
They have four different plan levels, including a free one.
Once you’ve signed up and logged in, click the down arrow at the top right and select Tools.
There are a bunch of tools listed that you can add to your favorite browser. I use the full extension for Firefox, which installs a customizable toolbar in the browser.
You can also choose the Diigolet, which installs a single button that, when you click it, expands to show available options. (Fewer than the full toolbar, but most of the main ones.)
Note: One thing I really like about Diigo is that they have apps you can install to the browsers on your mobile devices, which adds a Diigo option to the Share menu. I use it A LOT.
Once the toolbar or Diigolet is installed, I recommend you go through all the buttons to see how they work. With the full toolbar, make sure you click the Options button to see the various settings you can customize.
How Diigo Helps My Blogging
There are three different ways I primarily use Diigo.
1. Saving Topic Ideas to Look at Later
I spend a lot of time on social media (shocker!) and often come across information that can either be used to write new blog posts or to update existing topics and often I don’t want to read through them all right then and there. I used to just bookmark them with my browser, but they would be mixed in with all the other bookmarks I’ve saved. Then I tried emailing them to myself, but they would just fill up my Inbox and be mixed in with other messages and I’d end up just forgetting about them.
Now what I do is I click the Read Later button and they automatically get put into a special folder in my Diigo library that I can access just as easily by clicking the Unread button. If I click through to the link, it automatically gets marked as Read and moves it to the Recently Opened folder.
One other thing that’s really small but that I love is when I click the Read Later button, it not only saves the bookmark, it closes the tab the article is in and takes me back to the one I was in previously. Since I always have tons of tabs open anyway, just having this done without thinking about it is a nice little extra.
2. Creating Weekly News-Related Posts for Topics I Blog About
At the moment, I’m just doing it for my Cutting the Cable Cord series, but I plan to do it for more topics. This was a good one to start with because there’s a lot of stuff happening in this area right now that would interest people thinking about canceling their cable/satellite subscription.
So throughout the week, when I find a story related to Cutting the Cable Cord, I select the first paragraph(s) and then click the standard Bookmark button, which brings up a dialog box. The URL and title fields are automatically filled in and the text I selected is added to the Description field with quotation marks around it.
Next I add tags to the story. I always add one called “Cutting the Cable Cord” and one for the date I’m going to publish it (every Friday). I sometimes add other tags as well, but it’s the first two I need for my specific purpose.
Diigo has a featured called Enhanced Linkrolls that lets you create a list of bookmarks, filtered by the tags you’ve applied to them. So I create the code using the topic and date tags and paste it into a new blog post.
I schedule the post to go live Friday at noon and I have a nice list of news stories from the previous week without having to think about it.
3. Sharing Interesting Stories that I Won’t Blog About
This is similar to #2, but a little less involved. There are a TON of stories out there that I think my readers would find interesting but that I simply don’t have the time or the expertise to write about fully.
For this purpose, I use the One-Click Bookmark tool, which is the button to the left of the main Bookmark button. You can set default tags that are applied when using the tool by clicking the down arrow beside Bookmark. I’ve created a tag called “t4l” that is automatically applied to these stories. (If I wanted to add more tabs on a specific story, I would just click the button a second time.)
Then I created a widget that appears on the sidebar of most pages on the site that just lists the headlines for the stories and automatically updates every time I create another bookmark with that tag.
A Few Notes
Here are a few tips I’ve picked up so far using this tool.
- You can choose whether links are public or private and you can use the Options menu to select an option by default. My default is Private but if you want to share links on your blog, they need to be Public. (You can set a separate privacy default for the one-click option, so that one I keep as Public.)
- Sometimes when I click the Bookmark tool, the title field doesn’t get filled in automatically. I think it’s because I’ve clicked it before the full page loads and it hasn’t picked up the title code. So you can either wait a little longer for the page to load before clicking, or just manually enter the title if it’s blank.
- Once you’ve installed the toolbar, every time you roll over an image in your browser, a Save icon will appear. You can turn that off in the Options.
Do any of you use Diigo or similar tools? If you have any additional tips to share, please add them in a comment.
Blogger Kristen Gillette took up ballet a couple of years ago and she writes about her journey as well as profiles, videos, how-tos, reviews and more. Here are some of her recent posts:
- Pick the #AdultBallet Twitter Chat Time + Suggest Questions!
- Blog Roundup: Ballet and Barre-Related Workouts
- Off Balance (Ballet Theatre Chronicles Book 1) Review and Author Q&A
I’m a big believer in lifelong learning myself and, in fact, took some ballet classes as an adult oh-so-many years ago. I’d love to try it again and will be checking out her posts to help motivate me!