I hate labels. I have never liked the way that we try to force so much other stuff (people, things, events, places) into these little boxes yet we proclaim that as an individual we cannot be labeled because we are so diverse. So we are this eclectic mix and we could not possibly confine ourselves to just one “tag” or “label”, yet we are content that others do and that we do it to others. Hmmm.
Then we have blogging which is still very new yet has already acquired many unwritten but (if you are bothered) powerful rules about subjects like linking, trackbacks, pingbacks, authenticity, ranking and this despite the fact that isn’t blogging meant to be, at it’s roots, a writing revolution ?
So there is the blogging revolution where the masses speak, the masses express themselves, the masses have the ability to broadcast (literally) to the peoples of the wired world, yet there are movements afoot that would have us tag everything into neat little containers. I get the fact that it makes things easier to watch for, or search for but isn’t it also stopping the spontaneity and diversity in some way ? And isn’t anything that hinders a bad thing ?

Ah some say, but you do not need to tag your posts, photos, links and anything else. True, but then new bloggers may see all these tags and start to follow, people may feel that “it is the way to do things”, the ‘A-listers’ will discuss such topics in earnest and so the categorisation of all things blog will continue. It will continue, but unevenly, without rules as such, but with undoubted unwritten rules. Take a photo (haha) – how do you categorise it ? by where it was taken ? who is in it ? what they are doing ? what is happening ? the date / time ? If you tag to catch all, then surely over-tagging starts to ruin whatever order you did have ? So in an attempt to create order from chaos, order that others could use as some sort of resource, you end up with at best a huge mess and at worst chaos again.

I don’t do tags. I just cannot see the point.

2 thoughts on “Tags

  1. I think of tagging like a book’s index. It is very possible to overdo it but creating a good index is a skill (a profession no less). Tags can be good if used consistently, I think common sense should prevail in these instances but, of course, I make the general assumption that most people have a degree of common sense despite the startling amount of evidence to the contrary.

    Not sure how tagging is “stopping the spontaneity and diversity in some way” as the tags are a navigation method and not subject to the same scrutiny as your writing will be. Nor am I sure that the people advocating tagging want everything in “neat little boxes”, folksonomies by their very nature (which tagging is a sub-part of) are not ‘neat’ and instead are focussed on how people classify the world around them.

    However I do think a lot of bloggers are falling back on tagging through laziness. I’m a big fan attribution, but a lot of people are now just throwing in some, for example, Technorati tags which isn’t good enough – not to mention COMPLETELY different.

    I’ll stop now.

    Summary: Tagging is not and should not be restrictive. The entire point is to help you find information the way YOU want it, not by some scheme cooked up by an individual and enforced on the ‘community’.

  2. I agree about the finding of information, but like you say if it is used too loosely then it’s usefulness becomes diluted.
    With regard to the classification, there is a possibility that individuals start to dictate how certain items should be tagged because for the individual it is useful to them. The tagger may not have been planning to use that tag so they are being asked to use (and peer pressure applies even on the net) additional tags which just adds to the tags, and once one person asks, it escalates.

    I can foresee that soon, despite the fact that it appears to be a ‘tool for the people’, there will be moans and groans that so many people “just didn’t get it” which is why is is failing / failed.

    Then again, it’s a toy I guess 🙂

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