I'm was a late comer to del.icio.us. The main reason being that I always found the site to be not that friendly for those who go to it for the first time. For starters, there's all that white space. I'm no design guru, but I find the site's layout to be a distraction because the visual hierarchy isn't quite what I expect it to be. After that, on my first visit to the site, I had a very hard time finding instructions on how to use the service. Perhaps I wasn't looking very hard as it's not all that difficult to find them. But I expected a site that is designed for social uses to be a little more friendly in getting me up and going. After all, they need my input to get the aggregated information that somehow (alchemically?) they turn into money. How hard would it be, del.icio.us, to make a screencast? I managed to do it.
But my quibbles aside, plenty of people seem to like del.icio.us. And I've been using it for two years. But recently Jason Jones did a blog post on del.icio.us that led me to poke into corners of the site that I hadn't even known were there. I'm most intrigued by the subscription and "links for you" features, especially since I can get both of them by RSS. Of course, in the case of the first, I still have to parse through the reams of information that comes cascading through teh interwubz. And in the case of the latter, I have to find people who want to send me links. I guess that's one of the downsides of social networking tools: if you don't have friends using the tools, then you don't get as much out of them as you might. I suppose I could start making friends on del.icio.us, but I certainly didn't go to grad school because I'm good at making friends. What's more, there's the whole problem of social network fatigue. I can only keep up with so many places. At the moment, that involves lala and its spinoff forums, some blogs that I follow, and Twitter.
In any case, read Jason's post if you want to have your ideas broadened about using del.icio.us. He even talks about using them in the classroom and has a del.icio.us assignment that you can pirate. I plan on using it this Fall in the sections of "Your Digital Life."