Monday, December 15, 2008

Bad tagging habits?

In my last KM post, I hinted that SU's swelling user base may be a contributing factor in the rampant miscategorization of content. Of course, I'm really doing a lot of projecting. The tags that work best for me might not work at all for the majority of users. The act of tagging takes its meaning from the idiolect of the person writing the tags. It doesn't get much more personal than that.

But different people have different goals in mind with their tagging. I'm trying to come up with a manageable set of tags that can efficiently describe the majority of the work related online resources I make use of both now and in the future (and hopefully scale well for future growth). Essentially, I'm trying to do more with less when it comes to my tagging structure. Obviously, that's not everyone's goal. Even among my personal heroes, such as Jeffrey Zeldman, the tagging structures used by other people can be called “improper” for my purposes. Zeldman has less than 2000 bookmarks with over 5000 tags in his Ma.gnolia account. In fact, he's currently averaging 2.58 tags per entry. And that assumes that each tag is unique. Obviously that's not the case. He's currently got 62 items tagged with “iphone” and 259 items tagged with “webdesign”. I also see some redundancy at work. He's got items tagged with “palin”, “sarah palin”, and “sarahpalin”. This entry is tagged with “september11th”, “911”, “9-11”, & “9/11”. Since that's all on one entry I assume Zeldman's doing it on purpose and not just forgetting what his primary tag for that concept is from entry to entry. That's precisely the sort of redundancy I hope to avoid. But obviously it's working for him.

So in my previous entries I've said some things that could be taken as insulting my fellow users of social media. I should be more forgiving. If everyone used social media for the same ends, there wouldn't be much of a point, right? I guess just like any other social construct (democracy, economics, etc) simply by participating in it we take on the responsibility to be mindful of our own needs and tolerant of the needs of others.

I'm going to go find a drumming circle to join. More later.

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