Posts about Tagging

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.

Tag happy

My amazing son just made BuzzMachine a tag machine. Via a nifty WordPress plug-in he adapted, instead of my old, inflexible categories, I now have fluid tags that appear at the top of every post. These include the old categories — now converted to tags — as well as any new words as they occur to me.

Now if I want to get fancy….

: I wonder whether I should do anything to make these tags work for Technorati et al (see the post below).

: It would be neat to see whether anyone linked to a post here in Del.icio.us or some of its competitors so I could import those tags here (under the assumption that your tags are better — more descriptive, more accurate, more useful — than mine).

By the way, I was inspired to do this by what Nick Denton did to his blogs. For commercial sites, there are added benefits to this structure of navigation:

: I’ll be you increase page views per visit because readers can find more on a topic that interests them.

: When readers do go to that tag page, it’s tremendously targeted and better for advertisers.

: The tags themselves should be useful for automated ad targeting via Kanoodle, Google Adsense, et al.

: The tags should be useful in informing search (if you search for a word that happens to be a tag, you would want posts using that tag to have priority).

Tags are not the cure to acne. The current infatuation with them is a bit faddish. But don’t let that distract you from their value.

: UPDATE: Dave Sifry says the tags are being picked up by Technorati as is. Bravo! And in relation to the open tagging discussion below, note that the tags don’t address Technorati; they are open.

: UPDATE UPDATE: Kevin Marks corrects me in the comments and says they are not open. I frankly don’t understand. I need a whiteboard….