Posts about tags

Future of news

David Weinberger boswells a chunky discussion of the future of news at Foocamp.

Adrian Holovaty from the is interested in optimizing information collection. How do we get journalists to collect information in ways that machines can reuse it. Newspapers are a collection of information desperate for a framework, while Wikipedia is a framework desperate for information, he says. . . . Adrian says that the categorization onus should be on the reporter. All the info in it ought to be categorized so, if it’s a report on a mayor’s speech, we can see all the speeches by the mayor, all speeches about the same topic, etc.

Tag that.

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.


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.

Tag me

: Yahoo puts up its new save-this/tag-this beta.

: David Weinberger points to a service that lets you tag books. Well, of course: What happens when we don’t just tag pages but things — movies, destinations, books, gadgets… And what happens when you can get to that on the road (in the bookstore, you look for recommendations of books about…).

Of course, you can tag people.

: I have been showing everyone who’ll listen Flickr’s “interestingness,” a secret-sauce algorithim that, I believe, uses vectors of interest and link and social patterns to find the photos Flickrers find interesting. And they are interesting.

What’s great about this is that it exposes not the wisdom of the crowd but the taste of the crowd.

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 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.

Thinking ahead for me

Damn, I love the internet and the brains it brings together. Get a load of this simple tool that makes a search blank smarter: You start typing in a term and it shows you related terms or synonyms (whatever the site programs in). Imagine how this could help with things like or Flickr search, where you could program in related tag clusters.

: Credit where credit is due: Forgot that this links comes via Library Clips, a blog I’ve just discovered and like.

: UPDATE: Media Code points out that Google does this (in beta, of course) and does it better. Very nice. Now I wish that Flickr,, and most search sites would think about the kind of suggestions and data about them you’d like to have when you invest the effort in a search.

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.