Friday, July 22, 2005

Preoccupations: Tagging: filing, annotating … and rhetoric

Preoccupations: Tagging: filing, annotating … and rhetoric

David Smith perpetuates Tom Coates error (typo?):

"Tom Coates' interesting 4 June posting, Two cultures of fauxonomies collide …, suggests that tagging-with-del.icio.us, 'with an individual the only person who could tag their stuff'"

Fact is at del.icio.us anybody can tag anybody's page. Me thinks they should substitute technorati for del.icio.us to correct their gaffaw.

8 comments:

David said...

Hi. I don't think it's a typo or an error. At Flickr, you can add a tag to my tagged photos (ie, as already tagged by me) — if I give you this level of permission. So, my photo of Ben Hammersley speaking in Copenhagen at Reboot last month has had a tag ("Ben Hammersley") added by a contact of mine. This is, in part, why Tom talks of annotating when we use tags on Flickr.

In del.icio.us, you can't simply add a tag to an item (a bookmarked url) as already tagged by a fellow user. You can copy any item and add whatever tags for yourself, but you can't add a tag directly to your fellow user's tagged item. This is a quite fundamental difference to the user-experience.

Bozo Faust said...

If you follow the item at del.icio.us into the tagroom "from all users", then you see everybodies tags on that item. But i get your point that the tagger is not adding a tag to another person's taggings, and as you indicate, that is something that requires permission. That this fundamentally changes the experience, well i don't think so.

David said...

Re the experience, let's take an example (at random) from del.icio.us. Here's one. Quite a range of tagging strategies here! What I can't do is involve myself directly in the way these seven users have tagged the item. But in Flickr, my own photos can end up being associated with keywords I never assigned them. I find this experience different: exhilarating, a little alarming, certainly exciting — and much more obviously social, in the end. I think Tom has a point — that del.icio.us is more like filing (there's your filing cabinet and there's mine), whilst Flickr has something about it that doesn't remind me of an office!

Thanks for these exchanges: they've made me realise some new things about Flickr/del.icio.us and I may try to blog about these soon.

Bozo Faust said...

You say: "in Flickr, my own photos can end up being associated with keywords I never assigned them."

But that is true of del.icio.us as well. For example i create a page, eg this one, and then tag it, and you can come behind me and tag it differently. Try it, you'll like it. I fail to see how that is substantually different from the Flickr experience. Only big difference is there is no permission granting involved. I think Tom had a point too. I just think that his point applies to technorati and not del.icio.us. The way things get tagged at technocrati implies that only the author can tag their items.

David said...

I don't see your tags in del.icio.us unless I want to. I do see yours on my Flickr photos (permission being granted). Result in Flickr: a merging of tags, a melding of identities but in a way that's rather like being at a party. In del.icio.us, the common object is (usually) not mine to start with: it's someone else's url and I don't have one page with everyone's tags down the RHS along with mine (thank goodness!). Thomas Vander Wal, broad and narrow folksonomies.

Bozo Faust said...

You say "I don't see your tags in del.icio.us unless I want to"

But that is not true. If you visit the tagroom "from all users", you *will* see my tags. It is in that common tagroom that all the "socializing" takes place.

You say: "and I don't have one page with everyone's tags down the RHS along with mine"

Sure you do, you, yourself, pointed me to one ... rember? Of course, if you are the only one who has tagged it, then that place doesn't exist yet.

David said...

I have nearly 2000 items tagged in del.icio.us and I spend very, very little time using it as a social space in the way you describe. I watch the RSS feeds of a small number of del.icio.us users whose "eyes" and insight I've come to value: this is of great value to me and makes del.icio.us a really useful piece of social software.

I couldn't possibly find the time, on top of 200+ other RSS feeds a day, to swim in the general soup of 'all users'! I rarely (very rarely) look to see who else has tagged a page I tagged.

But if I use Flickr (and I do), my home page alerts me to activity concerning my photos and with one click I get to see who has tagged my photos, commented on them, created new notes on them … If I open a photo in Flickr, to show a friend or whatever, I have no choice but to see who has been there, commented, tagged, etc. In these and other ways, Flickr betrays (I mean this as praise) its origins in the world of online gaming.

With del.icio.us, things are set up in such a way that I do not have to see this information. In Flickr, everything from the word go is much more obviously about (advertises itself as about) sharing, mixing in, mashing up … It's the photos that are the thing — an object we all see there. In del.icio.us, we are each marking things "out there" that are important to us and only secondarily sharing that.

Bozo Faust said...

I agree. Flickr encourages soical interaction, it puts information out there in a way that encourages people to see and interact. Perhaps this a lesson that del.icio.us should heed. But the data is all there, sombody could front end del.icio.us and display the data differently. In fact several have.