Sunday, September 28, 2014

Study #3 An Empirical Examination of the Sustainability of Social Bookmarking Websites

Benbunan-Fich, R. and Koufaris, M. (2010).  An empirical examination of the sustainability of social bookmarking websites.  Information Systems & E-Business Management, 8(2), 131-148.  Retrieved from



Authors Benbanun-Fich and Koufaris researched factors that contributed to why social bookmarking sites have persisted in high usage online.  Social bookmarking allows users to bookmark sites and tag keywords.  Many sites allow users to bookmark/tag their sites privately or publicly.  They can organize their information and collect their bookmarks in one place.  Users can tag a site using any word of their choosing.  If a public bookmark, other users can then find that tag and find links to other similarly tagged information.  It allows users to locate information they may otherwise not have accessed without using social bookmarks.  The authors are concerned that even though there are so many benefits to public social bookmarking, so few users actually contribute.  They are either private users that do searches or they are known as lurkers, users that simply retrieve information and do not contribute.  The authors believe that only a small fraction of users actually generate bookmarks.  The authors point out that if that small fraction of users are the only public contributors, that the pool of information will be depleted and will not multiply.  


The authors collected data from the social bookmarking site, (  Simpy is one of the oldest social bookmarking sites available so the site would have a variety of users.  The authors used the sites cloud page to retrieve user names.  They collected 2,837 users that were referenced in a particular tag in the cloud.  From there, they used a sample of 1000 users.  From those users, the authors calculated three pieces of data including the bookmarks that were made public, length of time a user has been contributing to the site, and which users contributed most often.


The authors chose a resource-based model and data they collected on ListServes.  The availability of resources is dependent on the membership level including the membership losses on a social bookmarking site.  As the membership levels grow, the availability of resources grows as well.  The authors make four hypotheses.  The first being, "The majority of users of social bookmarking sites will make most of their contributions publicly available to the other users" (Benbanun-Fich & Koufaris, 2010).  This would explain why social bookmarks are continuing to function so highly.  The second being, "A minority of contributors will provide a significantly larger portion of public
content than the remaining majority of users" (2010).  This would explain why the sustainability would be depleted by fewer contributions.  The third being, "New users will contribute more of their resources to the public repository than
existing users" (2010).  This would explain the possible decline of some resources available.  The last being, "The majority of users will contribute regularly to the public repository" (2010).  This would explain the ability of social bookmarks sites to continue to thrive.

Results and Findings:

The authors determined that 943 of the users in their sample made contributions of over 474,000 bookmarks.  Only 17 users contributed nothing at all.  Of the 474,000 bookmarks, 412,000 bookmarks were social.  They figured then that on average, one contributor added about 412 bookmarks.  The authors found that a very small fraction of users kept their bookmarks private and/or did not contribute.  This would add positively to the sustainability of the sites.  They also found that there were "regular" contributors to the sites.  The authors determined that the option to make bookmarks private does not affect the success of a social bookmark.  They also determined the need for bookmarking sites to pull in "regulars" to keep new information posted.  Benbanun-Fich and Koufaris also found the need to attract new users as they are the highest contributors to the sites.  

Reflection and Application:

I would say that after reading the findings of these authors that I find myself to be a user of several different social bookmarking sites however, rarely am I a contributor to the sites.  I utilize the sites for the acquisition of new information.  I do not always know what I am looking for and social bookmarking is a great way to give me access to new categories of information.  I am grateful for the regular contributors to social bookmarking sites.  With users like me frequently these sites, there is a need for new and fresh information.  If the same set of bookmarks come up when I'm searching I know I would be far less likely to go back to that site.  

Social bookmarking is such a simple way to access and retrieve information that this Web 2.0 tool has really begun to sprout.  As a user, I am less likely to use a site if it is time-consuming or difficult to use.  I am always looking for new information and the contributions that new users are making keep me from see the same information recycling frequently.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Study #2: Innovation Impacts of Using Social Bookmarking Systems

Study #2: Innovation Impacts of Using Social Bookmarking Systems

Gray, P.H., Iyer, B., & Parise, S. (2011).  Innovation impacts of using social bookmarking systems.  MIS Quarterly, 35(3), 629-643. 



The purpose of this study was to determine two conclusions relating to social bookmarking.  Gray, Iyers, and Parise discuss just what drives society to innovate and reach for change.  Change often comes from preexisting material but they are recreated into new formats.  Social bookmarking is one way that professionals are using these new formats to organize and consolidate previously found resources.  One purpose of social bookmarking is to increase the possibility of locating the same information via people that have the same needs.  It should make people more efficient whilst allowing them to reach beyond their immediate resources.  Too many resources or places to look online creates less organization and less efficiency.  Social bookmarking allows users to find research or information they, otherwise, may not have ever come across.  They follow in the shadow of another user leading them to new searches.


The study was conducted through a sample of social bookmark users.  Using a firm's large employee pool, 850 social bookmarkers were studied ranging from high, medium, and low usage amounts.  The sample of employees created "structural holes" or gaps in connections.  The authors did not want any previous connections to each other's social bookmarks to ensure randomness of connections.


The authors hypothesize two theories.  The first of which looks to find the relationship between how innovative/creative a person is to how thoroughly they search using social bookmarking.  The predict that, "the number of times an individual accesses social bookmarks will positively predict his/her level of personal innovativeness" (Gray, Iyers, & Parise, 2011).  The second theory looks at the number of people one individual accesses through the use of social bookmarking.  The authors predict that, "the number of people a person connects to by accessing their social bookmarks will positively predict his/her level of personal innovativeness," (2011).


The authors concluded that social bookmarking has many benefits that contribute to one's personal innovativeness and creativity.  There are also some drawbacks attributed to this social media tool.  Through examining samples of the social bookmarks, the authors determined that individuals miss out on the opportunity to participate in mutual interactions. These interactions can be vital to accessing rich discussions.  Many social books do not allow users to specifically influence particular readers' interest.  It is generally open to the public and not always ideal for small groups.

On the other hand, a benefit owed to social bookmarking is its ability to track and bookmark resources without needing to communicate two-ways.  It makes sharing quick and efficient.  There is no fault or cost to the person bookmarking the sources.  

Overall, the authors felt their study supported the theory that innovative individuals were those that were more actively involved in social bookmarking.  They had more access to new ideas and were inspired by other resources that they may no have originally personally searched for.  It helps people fill in the missing holes of available information by expanding their initial searches.  


I was excited to find this study as it will pertain to my key assessment.  It is an overarching category that includes sites like Diigo, teacher-friendly Symbaloo, and popular Pinterest.  When I began researching what a social bookmark was, I found sites like Diigo.  As I thought about it, I realized a user-friendly version like Symbaloo can serve a similar purpose.  Perhaps the most popular (by personal observation) is Pinterest.  I feel it serves the same purpose as well.  Sites like Pinterest have grown to be a major contributor of many teachers' planning.  I enjoy that I can repost a site or a photo or resource without having to reach out the the previous finder.  As I click deeper and deeper into the posts, I have strayed far off from my original purpose but found many other resources or fresh ideas that I would not have otherwise found.  

With sites like Symbaloo, a user can again post or link resources to a user-friendly dashboard and access these in a convenient manner.  The user has the option to share publicly or keep private.  

Diigo is a site that I just linked to my blog.  A great feature of Diigo is the ability to create groups.  Like the authors mentioned previously, social bookmarking has had trouble allowing users to share specific resources to specific people.  

I am looking forward to exploring tools like Diigo and Symbaloo in my classroom planning and research needs.  I believe the benefits the authors found, outweigh the cons.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Article Review #1: 21st Century Learners

Article Review #1: Essentials for Engaged

21st Century Learners

Jones, V.R.  (October 2012).  21st Century Learners.  Techniques, 16-19. Retrieved  from

Noren, L. (October 2011).  Who is the Millennial Generation?  Retrieved from


Main Points:

In this article, the author addresses the needs of 21st century learners, also known as the Millennial Generation.  The Millennial Generation, or Millennials, are the generation born between 1977-1992 (Noren, 2011), though some data suggests a start date in the 1980's and an end date in the early 2000's.  The author notes that Millennials' brains are actually physically different due to the amount of technology in and around their lives.  This generation commands the use of technology-rich learning opportunities and thrive in it.

Virginia Jones calls to attention our traditional education environment.  She notes that the majority of current teachers are "non-digital natives" or "digital immigrants" (pg.17).  They are aware of the technology and may be capable of implementing it but they do not embrace it in the classroom.  These teachers struggle to reach learners beyond the Millennial Generation.  Jones mentions the importance of needing to integrate the technology-rich world into the everyday education setting.  "It requires outrageous and courageous education- a seismic shift in content delivery," (Jones, pg. 18).

Millennials and the generations that follow spend most of their time adapting technology to better their lives and make them more efficient.  They need to be fully immersed in their learning and take on a lead role.  Collaboration online plays an important part.  Reading has begun to take on a new appearance.  "Digital immigrant" teachers assign reading, especially books.  This new generation finds that resources available online can serve the same purpose.  Multitasking is a vital part in most Millennials everyday.  

Jones points out how adaptable Millennial learners are to their education.  They have little fear of using new technology.  They can apply new tools to their learning environment and, eventually they will apply to their workplace.  


The article concludes by providing suggestions for the reaching the 21st century learners.  Teachers must reshape their lessons utilizing technology and allow these learners to explore and take charge of their education.  These learners need to be engaged in their education and educators must innovate their teaching to better match those needs.  The author suggests e-books instead of textbooks.  Use databases instead of libraries.  Incorporate video and audio to reach those other learners.  Current teachers have a big responsibility to facilitate a new type of learning.

Reflection and Application

When I was looking for article or study to read, I almost passed this article up.  As I skimmed it, I realized this is a major contributor educational technology.  This is why I am taking an educational technology class.  Although I fall into the Millennial Generation and I feel fairly tech-savvy, the learners that I will be teaching from this point on are fully immersed in a world of technology.  I grew up knowing both learning environments.  I don't want to be a "digital immigrant."  I want to be prepared to engage all learners and implement technology tools that better facilitate their learning.  

In terms of lessening the collision of "digital immigrants" and digital learners, staff development must be readily available.  Teachers that are ready and willing need to be supplied with the necessary tools to better support their students.  Districts need to consider moving faster to a 1:1 device system.  Teachers need to be able to provide guidance to fellow staff members.  If we are to be a part of the changing world, teachers need to be innovative and willing to take risks.