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.

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  • Thanks for the mention. Much appreciated.

  • TLB

    On a related note: why is this post tagged the way it is? What do any of the entries under the “book” tag have to do with a “book”? Why are there two “tag”-related tags? Likewise, I believe flickr only allows one word tags. Why tag something with “george” and “bush” when what you actually want is “george-w-bush” or even “president-george-w-bush”? Perhaps we need hierarchical tags:

    – bush family
    — george w bush
    —– second term
    ——- reaction to katrina

    You could make time and space a dimension of each tag or additional tags, so someone could find “george w bush” related times from Dec. 2005.

  • I agree with your relationships amongst and implementation of tags. Taking a step back, (1)How exactly do you put tags into wordpress, movable type, blogger, Miva storefront and general html websites? (2) Is it a different way to put tags in? (3) Do you take metakeyword code out of your sites?
    I have 5 websites and the following 3 blogs: callingtheshots.wordpress.com; evolvingboomers.com written in movable type; evolutionoftrading.blogspot.com

    Please email me when someone answers. Thanks for the topic and your post.

  • cullwock

    The problem with hierarchical tags is the same as with folders: what’s the rule for the hierarchy?! The way you present it might make little sense to other people, in which case they’ll never find “reactions to katrina”. Unless of course you put “reactions to katrina” under several headings, but then creating tags becomes like sorting folders: end- and pointless.
    One way I can imagine hierarchical tagging to work is by using a strict thesaurus-like structure, in which only “kind of” relations are allowed for broader terms. Thus, “George Bush” is a kind of “person”, “reactions to katrina” is a kind of “opinion” etc. I’m still not quite sure whether this makes things any better, but it certainly seems some advance. I agree that ‘pure’ tags go a bit out of hand very quickly…

  • how can i tag people and make a tag colume?