As I explained yesterday, you can make good use of del.icio.us without even creating a user account, but the real power of del.icio.us is unleashed when you create your own user account at del.icio.us and start tagging the webpages you find valuable.
Create your account. Just go to the Registration page at del.icio.us. You will be asked to enter both a username (this can be an alias, or you can use your real name). You will also be asked to enter your full name; you can decide later if you want your full name to be included in your del.icio.us profile, or if you want your username only to be displayed. To confirm your email address, you will get a verification email from del.icio.us, which will contain a verification link that you need to click on to complete the registration process.
Add browser buttons. After you have chosen your username, you will be taken to a page that prompts you to Install Browser Buttons so that you will be able to quickly and easily tag pages while you are browing the web. (You don't need to reply to the verification email in order to continue with this part of the process.) There are two buttons: one button is for tagging individual pages, and the other button is for accessing your complete list of tags. After you have followed the instructions for installing the buttons in your browser, you will be given some specific information, based on the specific browser you are using, about how to use those buttons.
Firefox and Explorer add-ons. If you are using Firefox, you might also want to install the Firefox add-on, which expands the range of del.icio.us functions you can access instantly while browsing. You can read about the features of the Firefox extension, and decide if you want to install that (I use it all the time!). There is also a del.icio.us add-on for the Internet Explorer browser.
Your del.icio.us profile. Next, you should decide if you want to reveal your del.icio.us profile - that is, your full name - in addition to your username. By default, your username is the only thing that is displayed, but it's easy to also display your full name, along with a link to your website or other contact information. Since I use del.icio.us for academic and work-related projects, and not for personal tagging, I like to share my profile. Here's what it looks like for my username "aesopus" account; you can see my name listed there, and it links to my Aesop's fables website:
By default your full name is NOT displayed. If you want to display your name and a link to your website or email address, just go to the Settings page, and then choose Edit Profile (this is also where you can change your password and update your contact information):
Multiple usernames / multiple browsers. Depending on how you make use of del.icio.us, you might end up having multiple user accounts. I have two main del.icio.us accounts, one that I use for my online courses, and one that I use for my research into Aesop's fables. To keep from getting mixed up, I use two separate browsers. In my Firefox browser, I stay logged in to my Aesopus del.icio.us account (since that is the most active), and in my Safari browser, I stay logged in to my OnlineCourseLady account (which I use in a big burst at the beginning of every semester, but don't really update frequently after the semester has gotten started). Of course, you can also just log in and log out of multiple del.icio.us accounts in the same browser - but for someone like me, who is not really good at multitasking (I've got a seriously one-track mind!), it's easier to keep my two del.icio.us accounts in two separate web browsers. Plus, even though I use Firefox most of the time, it's fun to play around with Safari, too. :-)
More to come! In my next posts, I'll explain some more about cool features of del.icio.us, like tag clouds, and del.icio.us widgets for your blog!
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