Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Chris has been writing a bit about tagsology. I love the idea of a paid (or unpaid, depending) ontologist taking care of business on the back end, trying to keep relationships going between concepts. I've been mulling over a couple of problems I can see with formalizing folksonomy in this way.

1. Other than things people are deeply interested in, what is the motivation to tag? I'm here at Semantic Technology and a presenter described a tagging program she instituted at her company. Their content is perfect for tagging, the system was relatively easy to use, yet no one added any tags in six months. Her conclusion is that tagging is not something people do at work, unless it's part of their formal duties. Social search as a whole seems to be focused around passions and hobbies, rather than a large domain of things that need to be retrieved. It'll be really easy to find tags for all 10? of the Doctors from Dr. Who and nothing on the Fed chairmen before Greenspan.

2. People love to be unique. Everyone who has ever dealt with a client knows this. The first thing a client will tell you is why they are a unique flower within their industry, that they do nothing like anyone else, and by the way, have you read their mission statement? People are the same. They don't really want to tag things in such a way that they match each others' tags. Some users will tag cat pictures with the word "puppy" or "Danger!" or, in my case, "Bean" because that's her name. Important or popular documents in a folksonomy get multiple tags, but people need to find them to tag them, and with without the right entry tags, they'll never get found.


At 11:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We could pay people to add tags. One dollar per tag. Nobody would dream of abusing something like that.

But it sounds like the gist of your post is that tags are great for fun stuff, but not so good for business or academic stuff.


At 11:33 AM, Blogger Alice said...

I think tagging could be an excellent way for anyone in an organization to mark up their content. I think it should work, but I wonder if the adoption rates might be too low to justify implementing such a program at a corporation, where people aren't in love with their own content, and in some cases want to hide that content from each other.


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