Tagging 101 In Northern Voice Internet Bootcamp

Gene Smith is speaking about tagging at the Internet Bootcamp today, and he just mentioned that he recently wrote a book on tagging, entitled Tagging.

Tagging is a simple and quick way to add metadata to stuff you’re interested in, like photos, videos, blog posts and bookmarks

I read Gene’s book and commented on it on my blog, and am really glad to be able to hear him in person discuss tagging.

He presented a screencast movie about tagging with del.icio.us, which really started the craze toward tagging. Tagging is all over the place, and in the world of Web 2.0, tagging is becoming ubiquitous. Even Windows Vista has tagging!

Somebody just recommended the WordPress widget, Ultimate Tag Warrior. Another person mentioned Simple Tags.

I asked Gene the question about how to navigate the use of multiple words in tags, such as making phrases all one word, use spaces, underscores, hyphens, and the like. I find that I often make use of all the combinations and feel I do too much work to try to cover every base. His two-step response was exactly what I was looking for in an answer — do whatever you are doing and keep doing it consistently, as well as see what others are doing and continue to follow that (such as nv08). That is what I wanted to hear. With a lack of consistent standards out there, navigate it on my own.

To get started, tag your own blog posts, and then post / tag them to del.icio.us, and then follow the tags to see other people who have also tagged them similarly. Then, begin to see communities with your tags, such as nptech. Coordinating them with others, such as what we are doing here with nv08 for use at Google or even Flickr.

Gene will try to post these slides to SlideShare. Good idea!

A Useful New Tagging Book

As I me mentioned in one of my recent posts, I just read Gene Smith’s book: Tagging: People-Powered Metadata for the Social Web. Great overview of tagging for both practice as well as some more detailed professional work. Lots of good stuff in the book, including a discussion about tags (of course), taxonomies, folksonomies, metadata, controlled vocabulary, and countless examples to illustrate his work. Speaking at times in the voice of a teacher and at other times as a software developer, I feel I have a better understanding of tag clouds and how useful these features can be from a personal as well as social media perspective. In the process of reading this, I decided to begin using the tagging feature built-into WordPress, as now I think in the long-term this will be useful for me as well as my colleagues. Score one for Gene’s persuasion.

One of the topics Gene mentioned involved using capital letters, abbreviations, and underscores / hyphens. His suggestion that the decision about how to handle this issue should be addressed at the beginning. I thought this was good advice, but for my own use I wish he would have suggested what he recommends in this case (in the teacher voice, not the developer voice). taggingI understand the differences between various formats, such as: New York, new york, NY, ny, New_York, new-york, etc., but I am not sure which option(s) I should use. I could have used some end-user guidance here as opposed to be left to discern all my options. In this case, I find myself being inconsistent in how I tag my own blog posts and Flickr images, as I tend to second-guess how others may search for and use the tags.

This is one of the questions I will ask him when I listen to his presentation at Northern Voice next week. I just learned that Gene will be presenting at Internet Bootcamp as well, so it will be nice to meet him so close to my finishing his book.

I think this book will do well, as I can only imagine tagging options and needs to increase in the future. As much as consistent tags seem like a good idea, I often find myself thinking about terms and usage in different ways from other people. No wonder I am a qualitative researcher!