Theresa O’Connor

Social cataloging—I don’t get it.

While I have accounts on LibraryThing, Goodreads, and Readernaut, I haven’t been able to motivate myself to use any of them all that much. This surprises me—these tools seem to fall right into the “make things public and permanent” mold that’s worked so well for Blogger, Twitter, and other services.

But wait, do the social cataloging sites really fit the mold? Blogger and Twitter took things we were already typing on our machines (email in the case of Blogger, IM in the case of Twitter) and made them public and permanent.1 I’m not already typing out my private card catalog—starting to do so feels like homework, so I’m much less likely to bother.

So lazyweb, am I actually missing out on anything? Are these tools worth investing more effort in?


  1. Flickr’s an interesting case because, prior to the marketplace dominance of digital cameras, people generally didn’t laboriously scan & upload their photos. In a sense, using a digital camera is the “typing on our machines” that makes Flickr fit in with the other successfull “public and permanent” tools.