Posts about Tagging

I’m miscellaneous

I’m an idiot. I was just writing a post recommending David Weinberger’s Everything’s Miscellaneous — which I recommend constantly to editors, publishers, technologists, and investors — and so I wanted to link to my earlier post raving about the book and its importance in society. Only I now see that I never posted it. I’d read the book in galley form and had to wait to blog about it until it was released. But then I must have thought that I had blogged about it since I had talk about it so often (and the usual order for bloggers is to write about things first and then repeat what they’ve blogged in real conversation). So I’m the absent-minded professor. My brain is miscellaneous. I need someone to tag it. I’ll pay particular attention to the ‘missing’ tag. I’m criminally late to this but I do heartily recommend David’s book to anyone who wants to understand the fundamental change in the architecture of information in society, including media, learning, and business. It’s a mind-opener and almost as fun as listening to David himself. So if you haven’t already followed someone else’s recommendation to buy Everything’s Miscellaneous, please follow mine.

Tagging tags

Jeff Pulver started quite the memealanch with tagging people to find out five thins about them. And there’ve been lot of microbios worth reading. I just wish everybody had tagged these posts so I could now go read them all. How could we forget to tag the tagging?

Tag this

My latest Guardian column is about tagging. A few bits:

Tags are a means not only to remember links, but also to discover content tagged by others, to target searches and advertising, to connect people of common interests, and even to collect the wisdom of the crowds….

But this isn’t just another valentine to just another cool online trend; we’re so over that. No, tags have a larger lesson to teach to media. They present a clear demonstration that the web is not about flat content. The web is about connections and the value that arises from them if you enable people to collect and communicate. In the old, big, centralised, controlled world of media, a few people with a few tools – pencils, presses and Dewey decimals – thought they could organise the world and its content. But as it turns out, left to its own devices, the world is often better at organising itself.

Alternate link here.

Interestingness

Thomas Hawk wonders whether Flickr’s interestingness will allow Yahoo to leap ahead of Google in at least one arena of search: photos.

I wonder two things:

First, why just photos? Couldn’t interestingess become valuable in an overall search algorithim?

But second, in an interesting comment discussion under my post yesterday on interestingness, KirkH asks whether interestingness requires that the content judged be hosted on one site. That’s a good question, for interestingness appears to be about both vectors of interest and also about relationships and I’m not sure whether or how the data to feed that algorithim can be done across a distributed network.

The best thing I saw at Web 2.0…

… wasn’t at Web 2.0 at all but instead at Web 2.1.

It’s Tagyu.

You put in text and it suggests tags. It does this by comparing the text to tags on other text via Del.icio.us and two or three more sources.

It was created by Adam Kalsey, ex of Pheedo, only last Wednesday, so it has data only since then. Even so, it’s very good.

It’s a clever use of reverse-folksonomy: Use the wisdom of the crowds to make your stuff wiser.

I would have liked to have kept this secret to myself for a few days while I figured out how all it could be used. But just now, I showed it to my son and he said, “Seen it.” It was already dugg on Digg.

: Separately, because I met Tara at Web 1.0, I got a link to a neat new face-recognition software coming.

: And Om starts to peek behind the curtain on the newly named Sphere, a different blog search. I’ll be playing with it myself soon.

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.

Cool linking

Fred Wilson’s for:fredwilson Del.icio.us tag spreads to Cool Hunting. Now that’s the way to send them tips.

I’m on another A-list… so shoot me now

Risking pissyness from those not on his list directed to those who are, Steve Rubel creates a collection of 10 blogs he likes. I’m honored to be included. Thanks, Steve.

But what’s really cool about this is that Steve also suggested that others should create their top 10 lists and give them a Technorati tag: 10blogs. Click on that and you’ll find other lists rapidly swarming.

And that, again, is the point: There is no one list. We all have our own lists. That is the beauty of this new world.

: And while we’re on this (dangerous) topic, Tish G. came back from BlogHer and insisted that the A-list is some old-boys club:

Stop being the Wizard beind the Curtain and just admit what you’re about–creating an old boy’s network that excludes anyone who doesn’t blog in the exact manner that you deem relavent.

Allow me to don your hairshirt of the offended and say that I’m sick of people attacking me because I ended up on a meaningless list. I didn’t create a club, join a club, go to any club meetings. I am not now and have not been a member of the worldwide A conspiracy.

But the real point, Tish, is that you’re missing the real point of this new world: There is no club. No one can stop you from speaking anymore. You can be heard if you have something someone wants to hear. Use that freedom. Fly with it. Stop growling on the ground.

Karl Martino reacts to this same notion in a very good post:

The A-list isn’t an organized group. It isn’t a cabal that conspires in the middle of the night to draw linkage. To think so is pretty ridiculous considering in many cases this list is composed of sites that represent opposite extremes.

It is just a natural occurrence. Human nature. In this case users vote with their links – links they may have (probably have) been found from an influential (heavily linked to blogger) in the first place.

The seminal piece on this behavior remains Clay Shirky’s “Power Laws, Weblogs, and Inequality“. It’s a must read. It’s funny when A-listers deny the A-list – they don’t link to – or mention – this piece. [Heh. Just made that a self-denying prophecy. -ed]

Some would argue that the A-list, even if it exists, doesn’t matter. That thousands of D-list links can exceed the value in attention-driving a single A-list link can deliver. Indeed, I think this is true. However, the time it takes to be heard among so many can take much, much longer then what one related A-list link can do in a few hours. The difference can be astronomical and can’t be underestimated….

But heard by whom, Karl? If you want to be heard by an audience the size of TV Guide, then we’re all Z list. But then, TV Guide isn’t A list itself anymore either, is it? That’s the way the world is going: The mass is dead! Long live the niches!

We need to stop thinking in the old terms of mass market, big circulation, big ratings, blockbusters. That world is dying. We need to stop thinking that when we are in a niche, we’re in something lesser. No, it means we’re in a community. We’re in a good conversation, not a loud crowd.

I used to write for an alleged audience of 25 million at TV Guide and People. Now I write for an audience of a few thousand. Call that whatever damned list you like. I like it much better.