Web 2.0: Tagging

At Web 2.0 for the tagging session: SRO.

Tony Stubblebine of O’Reilly says they are the first customer to use Del.icio.us data to find out more about their content. That is precisely the right use of Del.icio.us for media/content sites.

Josh Schachter, founder of Del.icio.us, says he sort of starting the tagging thing when he called tags tags instead of keywords.

The first question: “I use Del.icio.us, but I’m not sure I get it.” Familiar applause from everybody in the audience. Fred Wilson, who invested in the company, has said that he didn’t get it either until I sent him a feed of somebody’s tags of media stories. Then he bought into the razor company.

I confess that I now get Del.icio.us but I don’t get how to tag well because you can tag just for yourself or for the world or to find stuff, you can tag micro or tag macro. Caterina Fake says: “Isn’t it because we’re overthinking it?” Josh says it is split up by use or intent: tagging for others (Technorati) or for yourself (Delicous) or a combination (Flickr). Jeff Veen says that’s not quite right; he uses Delicous [I’m giving up on the damned dots] as a publishing tool.

We’re at that cusp of geekcool to peoplecool; the world will make sense of it. I told Josh before the session that Delicious should go mainstream now and take down the velvet rope, as a VC described the hard-to-grok UI of the service. Josh said there is no intention to have a velvet rope. It’s a geek rope. And they’ll change it.

There’s now a research lab at Yahoo and Berkeley Research Labs working on automatic tagging. Josh says Ojos (he thinks) is working on tagging via face recognition.

Someone says that a key benefit of tagging vs. metakeywords on web pages is that they are visible and you can see whether they are credible and not spam and manipulation. Similarly, Google chose not to use metakeyworks but instead gave weight to the words inside a hyperlink and that’s better because it’s visible, not invisible. So we find out what the world thinks content is about instead of what the author thinks it is about.

It’s not just tags, then. When you link to something and describe it in that link (which means you should pick your link words carefully) you create data about the meaning of that to which you link. Ditto tags. That’s transparent. And anybody can do it.

Catarina talks about a new metric Flickr uses: interestingness, which tries to capture how much people have seen, tagged, linked to something. And she says you can pivot that around a person or a social group: What interests them? Add that to the metrics we as an unmedium need to capture and deliver: Where’s the good stuff? That’s where we want to be (and advertisers, too).

Someone asks about using tagging in a closed corporate environment. Wisely, the group tends to shy away from the enterprise trap. Josh says it’d be interesting for a company to find the people who find good stuff first. O’Reilly says that’s the customers.
At Web 2.0 for the tagging session: SRO.

Tony Stubblebine of O’Reilly says they are the first customer to use Del.icio.us data to find out more about their content. That is precisely the right use of Del.icio.us for media/content sites.

Josh Schachter, founder of Del.icio.us, says he sort of starting the tagging thing when he called tags tags instead of keywords.

The first question: “I use Del.icio.us, but I’m not sure I get it.” Familiar applause from everybody in the audience. Fred Wilson, who invested in the company, has said that he didn’t get it either until I sent him a feed of somebody’s tags of media stories. Then he bought into the razor company.

I confess that I now get Del.icio.us but I don’t get how to tag well because you can tag just for yourself or for the world or to find stuff, you can tag micro or tag macro. Caterina Fake says: “Isn’t it because we’re overthinking it?” Josh says it is split up by use or intent: tagging for others (Technorati) or for yourself (Delicous) or a combination (Flickr). Jeff Veen says that’s not quite right; he uses Delicous [I’m giving up on the damned dots] as a publishing tool.

We’re at that cusp of geekcool to peoplecool; the world will make sense of it. I told Josh before the session that Delicious should go mainstream now and take down the velvet rope, as a VC described the hard-to-grok UI of the service. Josh said there is no intention to have a velvet rope. It’s a geek rope. And they’ll change it.

There’s now a research lab at Yahoo and Berkeley Research Labs working on automatic tagging. Josh says Ojos (he thinks) is working on tagging via face recognition.

Someone says that a key benefit of tagging vs. metakeywords on web pages is that they are visible and you can see whether they are credible and not spam and manipulation. Similarly, Google chose not to use metakeyworks but instead gave weight to the words inside a hyperlink and that’s better because it’s visible, not invisible. So we find out what the world thinks content is about instead of what the author thinks it is about.

It’s not just tags, then. When you link to something and describe it in that link (which means you should pick your link words carefully) you create data about the meaning of that to which you link. Ditto tags. That’s transparent. And anybody can do it.

Catarina talks about a new metric Flickr uses: interestingness, which tries to capture how much people have seen, tagged, linked to something. And she says you can pivot that around a person or a social group: What interests them? Add that to the metrics we as an unmedium need to capture and deliver: Where’s the good stuff? That’s where we want to be (and advertisers, too).

Someone asks about using tagging in a closed corporate environment. Wisely, the group tends to shy away from the enterprise trap. Josh says it’d be interesting for a company to find the people who find good stuff first. O’Reilly says that’s the customers.

We see Consumating.com, where people tag themselves.

Esther asks about time and the decay of popularity. Josh says that Delicious cares about the vector: It’s not interesting that 10,000 people tagged “google” but this tag is hot now; Catarina says the same for the hot tags on Flickr. She says Yahoo research labs will have something on this later.

  • http://www.felixgerena.com Felix Gerena

    You could try Tagzania, Jeff. http://www.tagzania.com

  • James B

    Saw this today – looked interesting. Classifieds with tagging: Adzooks London classifieds. So links, pictures, dating, places, classifieds, and things (43 of them) have all been tagged – only shopping left to go?

  • http://www.newforth.com Robert Hoffer

    Tag/schmag. It’s a fad. And I’m not so sure it’s such a great one.

    In Lakoff’s now famous 1987 book , “Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things ” Lakoff tackles the notion of taxonometric relativity. It’s not in the least bit clear that Delicious (dots omitted at per the Buzz-Man, thank goodness!) is useful for anyone at this time because of this specific issue. Doubtless Messrs Veen and Jarvis (the Jeffs) have different cognitive mapping of subject matter and the overlap may or may not be useful to anyone else – including themselves!

    The semi-innovative notion of letting “The Mob” do the tagging may yield some interesting results; then again … maybe not. You may remember ‘”The Mob” as those wonderful taxonomists who have at various times tagged all kinds of things: people as niggers, commies and more recently – Liberals or Maplethorpe’s and Gedde’s photographs as ‘smut’ or “kiddie porn” … (need I pound this home?)

    Early in the development of the web the library scientists at Yahoo categorized Messianic-Judaism within the Judaism category … creating quite the loud oy for a several days – Happy New Year to the people chuckling over this one … So if the experts even tag stuff wrong perhaps the voxpopulous will get it right – finally! I hope so. But I’m not holding my breath.

    More likely the general public will get bored of ‘tagging’ pretty soon as I already have. With a few tagging utilities open on my screen right now – (Onfolio’s the best (thanks JJ) I’m not thinking this is a trend that’s here to stay. Or for you Ajaxically inclined folks lurking out there – perhaps tagging is best made into a background rather than a foreground task.

    Put better and to paraphrase ex-Attorney General Edwin Meese (something I have never before felt remotely compelled to do) “I don’t need to define a fad … I know it when I see it …”

  • http://www.thex.com/rd/ the english guy

    Sorry, I disagree with you Robert, it’s not a fad.

    I used to think pretty much the same way, I didn’t care about tags, or use them, now I’m thoroughly addicted. The reason why? I feel some measure of control over an Internet which is, let’s all face it, bloody huge.

    It might not remain the way it is, in fact I guess a better way of doing it would be to tag visually. Imagine a service where you tag a picture of donald duck and it comes back with all the material on donald duck, old, new, pictures, prose, movies etc., If you don’t tell the average layperson it’s a tag, and pretty it up and make using them fun and easy, you’ve got it, which is why I say visually.

  • http://www.horsepigcow.com Tara ‘Miss Rogue’ Hunt

    I don’t think even we can understand the trajectory or significance of where tags are going. Now Technorati has come up with microformatting, a ‘smart tagging’ system. People are using tags to connect socially. Some create tags to leave their mark. Some use them to organize themselves…

    …but it will grow off in directions we can’t even fathom.

    Oh…and btw…I’m from Ojos (http://www.ojos-inc.com) and we are working on auto-tagging via face and text recognition on photos. I’m looking forward to see what happens when we combine manual and auto-tagging…is it going to make tagging more accessible to those outside of the ‘in the know’ tagging world?

    (I had a conversation the other day where one guy says, “I like to have fun by messing around with tags.” and I thought, “Gee, I remember when it was fun to go to an Amusement Park.” LOL)

    T.

  • http://thomashawk.com Thomas Hawk

    The Wisdom of Crowds.

    To the extent that mass tagging combined with significant algorithms of rank (such as Flickr’s interestingness) create smarter more intelligent filters, there will exist opportunites for smart companies to piggy pack off of the natural social tendency to tag and there will be real opportunties in adverstising, search, plus a whole host of other places for companies to derive economic value.

    Companies need to address the what’s in it for me question of tagging and build tight communities and armies of volunteer taggers. Creating algorithms for human filters will create smarter more intelligent search. There is big money there.

    Technorati’s on the forefront, Flickr’s on the forefront, but we haven’t seen anything yet.

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  • / sd

    You can try new web 2.0 tagging application:
    http://www.tagtaxa.com/tagb.html
    Tags links and notes directly from browser.

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