Just Stop Bookmarking! (What to Do, Instead)

Three kinds of web browsing account for most of your surfing:

1. Sites you visit constantly (GMAIL)
2. Sites you visit periodically (hourly, daily, monthly)
3. Random sites (clicking on links)

Presumably, you’ve already bookmarked the sites you visit constantly and periodically. Where you get into trouble is bookmarking random sites. In this era of web-clipping, auto-complete and browser history, bookmarks are practically anachronistic.

With just two letters, I’m on my way to one of my favorite on-line references.

Do this experiment: open your bookmark manager and browse through the hundred of links. Do you honestly recall every single one? how many of them have you visited in the last 30 days?

If these questions don’t make you want to chuck the whole mess then, congratulations! You have a well-ordered, useful sub-index of your personal web at your fingertips.

The rest of us need to just stop bookmarking sites. If the information is of immediate use, ACT on it. Read that thought-provoking piece. Join that newsletter and get the content pushed to you more efficiently*. Subscribe or buy that must-have item! (The best part about taking action is how suddenly you decide you don’t really need that Shiny New Object, after all.)

If the information is hilarious, enjoy the moment and move on. Seriously. I promise you, the funny fades…

If the information is a reference you may want to recall later, use a web-clipping tool, such as Evernote or OneNote. Another option is to take advantage of software that allows you to launch web pages from within the program. I’ve been playing around with Find and Run Robot, a free gem from DonationCoder.com.

Now, lest this advice be considered too Draconian, here are some exceptions:

1. Comparison shopping – create a folder, stash the links
2. Online tools – create a folder, stash the links, cull the tools when you find better replacements
3. A web page has dozens of links for you to explore – bookmark it and only it.

Still, you should just stop bookmarking. All you’re really doing is rearranging your hall closet so that nothing falls out.

* I have a paid subscription to Inoreader.com. One of the features allows me to subscribe to newsletters using myname@inoreader.com. It’s not fool-proof, but most of the newsletters arrive intact. This keeps my inbox clean!