I’ve been thinking lately about how people use social tools to filter, process and share all the things relevant to them and their colleagues. Like most systems the three main parts are input, processing & output. (Harold Jarche labels his Seek-Sense-Share and I like the somewhat similar Ask-Learn-Share.)

Before I get to the question of how you share the valuable things you encounter, I should first ask “Do you share the valuable things you find?” If you’re answer to this is no, why is that? If it’s because you don’t think you have anything valuable to share I’d ask you to reconsider. If it’s valuable to you then odds are somebody else could benefit from it as well. If you don’t share because you don’t know how and/or where I’d like to suggest a couple of ways to get started.

I think one of the easiest ways to start sharing is to simply move your bookmarks off your computer where only you can see them to one of the social bookmarking sites like Delicious or Diigo. Just stop and think about the things you can discover and learn from having access to the bookmarks of other smart people in your field.

For example, if you are an elearning developer you will no doubt benefit from seeing what David Anderson is bookmarking. Or even better yet, if you’re an Articulate user you should check out the whole group of people contributing their bookmarks. If you’ve never browsed either of those sites, take a few minutes to surf the tags that interest you. Perhaps elearning, instructional design, performance support or maybe even social business might be a good place for you to start.

If you like, feel free to look at my bookmarks. They could lead you to super smart people like Jay Cross and Harold Jarche. Or you can look for your own friends.

I’m confident you’ll discover some valuable resources and more importantly people who share you’re interests. After all that is the most valuable resource of all isn’t it? Connecting with people who share you’re passions.

Even if you don’t bookmark a ton of stuff, you can still benefit from a social bookmarking website in two ways. First, you’re bookmarks are no longer tied to a particular computer/browser and now they’ll be available to you no matter where you go. Save a bookmark at work during the day and you can still access it from home over the weekend. Secondly, by browsing what other people are saving you’ll be able to find and connect with people who have interests similar to your own.

As I reflect back, I think social bookmarking was my entry point to being “socially minded”. Which I’m confident is only going to become more valuable to all of us over time, no matter what field you are in.

So where are you’re bookmarks? Do you think that bookmarking and tagging is a gateway to ‘social’? How do you use them? Would you encourage others to use them?

What questions do you have? Let me know I’d love to hear from you.