If you’re like most freelancers, your answer to that question was probably “yes.” Every day, it seems, we’re overwhelmed with helpful information. For most of us, there’s more information than we can practically manage to apply.
Diigo is a free application and community that is designed to help manage the information that we find online. It can also be used for collaboration.
In this post, we’ll examine how freelancers can use the free application, Diigo. We’ll also explain how to get started with Diigo and provide some Diigo tips.
What is Diigo?
Diigo is a free Firefox add-on that has been around for a while. From my perspective, Diigo is a cross between a social networking site and a research tool.
If you’re a web worker, especially one who uses the Internet for research or who regularly collaborates with other freelancers, this tool could become an invaluable part of your work routine.
Diigo itself promotes three uses for itself: research information, share information, and collaborate.
Some of the capabilities of Diigo include:
- Bookmark and tag web pages
- Highlight words or portions of a web page
- Keep sticky notes with a bookmarked web page
- Organize bookmarks by tags
- Search through your bookmarks
- Connect and discuss bookmarked pages with other Diigo users
- Automatically tweet bookmarked sites
- Retrieve information through iPhone app
Once you join, you can download the toolbar and mark web pages as you browse.
Now that we’ve explained what Diigo is, let’s move on and explain how to create a Diigo account.
How to Create Your Account
To create a Diigo account you simply need to:
- Choose a Username (if you will be interacting with some of the same people that you connect with on other social networking sites, I suggest using the same User name)
- Enter your first and last name
- Enter your email
- Select a password
Once you have created and activated your account, you need to install the Diigo toolbar. After you restart Firefox, the toolbar appears above your browser window. You can use the toolbar to bookmark information any time that your browser window is open.
Now that you have an active Diigo account and a toolbar, let’s try some bookmarking.
A Trial Run with Diigo
After I had downloaded the toolbar, naturally I wanted to give the application a try. I decided to go through some of my favorite freelance folder posts and bookmark them. To bookmark a site, simply click the bookmark option on the Diigo toolbar.
The dialog box that appears each time you bookmark a post makes it easy to tag and comment on the post.
After I had tagged and commented on several posts, I was able to go back and view the sites that I had bookmarked.
After only a short time, I already had over a dozen different resources bookmarked. I was able to sort my bookmarks on the “freelancing” tag to show only those bookmarked URLs that I had tagged “freelancing.”
Now that we’ve bookmarked a few sites, it’s time to look at some of the other aspects of Diigo. Let’s complete our profile.
Don’t Forget to Fill Out Your Profile
To get the most out of Diigo, be sure to fill out your profile. Include your work experience and your industry. Diigo also allows you to automatically include links to your other social media profiles.
One drawback that I saw was that, as far as I can tell, you can’t really link to your own blog by name. I linked to my blog under the category of My Other. The My Other category also seems to be limited to a single link.
Once you have a profile that can be viewed by others, you are ready to start connecting with other users.
Connecting With Others
After you have been using Diigo for a while, it is likely that you will want to connect with other users so that you can share information. There are three ways to connect to people on Diigo:
- Search the users by the tags, site, URL, profile information, language, or industry
- Import friends from your email address book
- Invite friends by sending them an email invitation
I found this task to be a bit cumbersome. Personally, I would have liked to a way to automatically import friends or followers from Facebook or Twitter.
Now that we’ve made some connections through Diigo, let’s take a look at some tips.
If you’ve been following the steps in this post, you should now have an active Diigo account.
When using Diigo, you should keep the following in mind:
- Your online brand — Any social site that you participate in online becomes a part of your online brand. Customers and potential customers will be able to search on your name or possibly company name and discover what you have posted here.
- Your participation — Like any social media site, you will only get from Diigo what you put into it. If you consistently bookmark and tag URLs as you run across them you should have a useful and sortable base of information in no time.
I’m still a new user to Diigo, but I’ll continue experimenting with it over the next few weeks. I’m hopeful that it will allow me to better organize (and therefore, better use) the huge quantity of information that passes before my eyes each day.
Some Other Bookmarking Sites
There are several other bookmarking sites available. You may wish to consider one of the following:
We haven’t tried these particular platforms personally, but they have a good reputation online. If you do try them, let us know what you think.
Share Your Own Experiences with Diigo
We’ve explained what Diigo is and shown you how to set up your account. Now it’s your turn to share.
Have you tried using Diigo to manage online information? Are you a current Diigo user?
Share your tips and ideas in the comments.