The hottest things in the web business right now are primarily things that are related to the mobile web. With the release of Android phones and the fresh new changes to the iPhone, smart phones are the tools that everyone is using to access the web. Social media sites haven't wasted any time jumping on board with this trend. Many people now update their social status information regularly from their cell phones. This has led to an explosion of mobile phone apps that enhance on-the-go social sharing.
This trend has added a new feature to social sharing: location. Mobile phones use GPS services to identify the location of a person who is posting information to various social sites. One of the most popular ways we see this is in the tagging and sharing of photos. You may take a photo from your phone, have the phone tag it with your location and then easily upload it to a social media site. What you share with others has therefore become very personal; it is about what you are doing and where you are doing it.
This trend towards local sharing is made even bigger because of the popularity of review sharing sites such as Yelp. People want to get first hand information about local restaurants, stores and services from other people who have frequented those local businesses. They don't want to know what is happening with the international restaurant scene so much as they want to know about the restaurant down the block.
This is not to say that people don't care about global news or issues. However, there is definitely an increased interest in personal news and local news as a result of mobile social media and user-generated information sites. This shift is beginning to have an effect on social bookmarking. Whereas most online bookmarking sites are widely focused on general news categories, the new way to look at these sites is with an eye towards local news.
There are a few different ways that social bookmarking sites can begin introducing the important dimension of location into their designs. One way is to add a geo-location feature to all of a user's posts via a mobile app. This would be especially of interest to people writing local and travel news as well as to people who share photos on social link sharing sites. Another option is to provide a tag and search option on the site to allow interested users to bookmark and find specific posts with a related location (much the way that Twitter is currently doing in the social networking realm). A third option would be to create specific niche sites or channels for specific locations.
Social bookmarking is likely to change a lot in the next few years. Changes to both bookmarking and networking sites are making these two different forms of social media much more similar to one another than they were in the past. Combined with the use of mobile phones for sharing and the increased importance of location-based sharing, these sites are naturally going to develop into new versions of what they are today.