I recently had a moment of clarity that when it comes to browser bookmarks I’m still trying to party like it’s 1999.
What I mean is that when the web was young and search engines were basic we needed to save our favourite sites to allow us to get back to them easily. I would still argue that’s a useful facility to have on a corporate work network, to quickly access the dusty corners and tools that our employees need us to use. But for home users what has changed?
Why bookmark when you can ’Google?’1
If you use a site frequently, just start typing and the browser will ‘remember.’
How many of those links have you actually revisited? Are they essentially the digital equivalent of the jeans with the 34” waist I keep in my wardrobe just in case I ever fit into them again.
Many of the websites we once bookmarked now have dedicated apps. That recipe for Caribbean Chicken? There’s an app for that. The shopping site? App. The site with cute videos of kittens playing pianos? Definitely an app. With smartphones in every pocket, we’re a couple of taps from our most frequent websites.
The world of web browsers is evolving. The new Arc browser for instance differs in how it manages frequently-visited sites and having an extensive library of bookmarks is of little benefit.
What I used to do
I used to keep my bookmarks religiously synchronised between my primary browser, the Pinboard bookmarking service and any other browsers I used at the time. To do this I use an Application called BookMacster — a quirky little program that’s not the easiest to use but has never let me down.
But I never really used these bookmarks!
What I do now
I synchronise a very small set (about 8) of frequently-used bookmarks between my browsers using one BookMacster collection. This ‘reads’ any changes to the Safari browser and sends them to any others. I am still waiting for newer browsers such as Arc or Orion to be supported.
All those articles and sites I once found interesting are now stored in Pinboard and synchronised with a local BookMacster collection. That means if I ever change my approach I can revert to the previous approach if I wish.
Pinboard works perfectly well in a browser window (and it’s one of the 8 bookmarks) although it’s design does look like it was created in 1999 too.
On my Apple Mac I use browser extensions to send articles and web pages to Pinboard.
I feel a little like I’ve thrown away that floppy disk I was hanging-on to for too long and never using. And the Pinboard articles? I was surprised by just how interesting many of them are… I should read them more often!