Roots connects you with the Ma.gnolia community as you browse the web. It's an idea that's profoundly simple and pleasing to the eye: while you're looking at a website, click the Roots bookmarklet and see what the Ma.gnolia community thinks of that site.
First, we should discuss social bookmarking. What is it and why should you look into it? Social bookmarking is a means to keep your collection of bookmarks on the web versus only on your home computer. The benefits of this are immediately obvious. No matter where you go, or what computer you are on, you have access to your bookmarks. Good, yes? Here is where the social part enters...you can share all your bookmarks and see what others find worth saving!
Ma.gnolia is a relatively new social bookmarking tool. It made it's formal debut February 2006. But, don't dismiss it because it is the new guy on the block. You might wonder why I like Ma.gnolia so much more than the others (which are awesome in their own right). The others being technorati and del.icio.us. I use them all, but I tend to use technorati and del.icio.us for blog business, and use Ma.gnolia for more personal use. It just unfolded that way. Some things just take a natural course. Like a river. (Excuse that last phrase...Ma.gnolia brings out the Zen in me.)
For me, the advantages of Ma.gnolia is the fact that it stores a picture of your bookmarked website, so even if it goes offline, you can still view the information. Another thing. Ma.gnolia takes the social part a step further. It features groups that you can join or you can start your own group. Maybe you just want to have a discussion about a website. No problem. It also features something called Ma.gnolia Roots. You can see it in action on my sidebar.Very social. And the Ma.gnolia website is a design masterpiece. I like the look of it...simple, clean, easy. Not the utilitarian look of del.icio.us and not as complicated as Technorati.
But, how do you keep track of all your bookmarks? There are no folders. That is right. No Folders. Social bookmarking uses a concept that makes categorizing by folders obsolete. It is a little something called a tag. (Blogger had to be different and called their tags labels. But, we know what they are.) Let me explain the advantages. Let's say you are into graphics and recipes. You want to bookmark a website you found called Slashfood - Food Porn. Before, you would have to choose what folder to put it in...recipes or graphics. With social bookmarking, you 'tag' each site with words. In this case you could use both recipes and graphics. Then anytime you returned to Ma.gnolia and did a search for recipes, that site would be listed with all the others you tagged 'recipes'.
By the way, did I mention it was pretty....
UPDATE: the Roots icon is no longer in my sidebar