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Social bookmarking is the process of users storing and organizing webpages and web content in an open and public fashion. The end result of this is something called a folksonomy. Where a taxonomy is a strict categorization of the formal structure of a given thing, a folksonomy is a categorization and organization of the structure of a given entity by the common people (“folks”) who choose to help organize the information.
This organizational schema is created by individual users “tagging” bookmarks with keywords that the user think can be attributed to the content (and is usually expressed using a “tag cloud” — see image above). Different from the concepts of folders, tagging allows any individual piece of information to be attributed with a countless number of keywords or “tags”.
More than a subtle shift, the development of social bookmarking — which helped reconceptualize organizing information through the use of tags instead of folders and resulted in the creation of a human-powered folksonomy — is one of the foundational elements to the current dynamic and ultra-networked Web (2.0).