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February 08, 2005
The Future of Blogs: Tagging
Blogs are about to grow up. As newborns, blogs were simply diary-like entries on which readers could comment. Then, blogs added Rich Site Summary (RSS) feeds, notifying readers when a new entry was posted. Still, as Richi Jennings, of Ferris Reseach, writes in his blog, discussions on blogs can hardly be called conversations, like the ones we can have over e-mail or Instant Messenger (IM). "Comments are too prone to comment spam, most people find it hard to understand the concept of trackbacks, and the whole thing is just too difficult," he says. Basically, today, blogs are more akin to cave men?? disjointed mumblings than the Gettysburg Address.
Blogs are about to evolve, however, thanks to an idea called tagging. Tagging is a software tweak that's already used on photo-sharing site Flickr.com, for example. Here's how it works: As the site's users post their photos for everyone on Flickr.com to see, they tag a photo taken in, say, Iraq, with a tagline, "Iraq." A blog search engine called Technorati.com uses these tags to retrieve search results. If you entered "Iraq" into its search dialog box, the engine would serve you up with news stories, blogs -- and photos tagged with "Iraq" (See this article on Salon.com for other examples of tagging).
Such tags could completely change the way we blog and communicate, believes Glenn Reid, who, while at Apple, created iPhoto. In a recent blog entry, Reid gives a great example of the possibilities: All reader comments on all blogs could, potentially, be linked up based on their tags, so that, instead of following individual blogs, people would be able to follow conversations on specific topics (such as Iraq) conducted on hundreds of blogs.
Searching for data will become a piece of cake. Information will spread around the blogosphere a lot faster. And blogs will, in some cases, become a viable alternative to e-mail and IM, writes Jennings. After all, we use e-mail and IM for conversations on specific topics. Today, you might send an interesting article with a personal comment to your 40 best friends via e-mail. Tomorrow, you might comment on it on your blog, and your comment would reach 4 million people, including all your friends. Not bad, huh?
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Good overview of tagging and its related emerging technologies. I've done a lot of work in this area launching a tagging web-based feed reader (www.feedtagger.com)
If you want more information about this space, feel free to email me.
Posted by: Chris at June 1, 2005 02:59 AM
Email, forums, IM, now blogging. Yes it is evolving. I wonder what is next. This is the first I had heard of tagging and it is was a nice read. Thanks Chris for the link also.
Posted by: xunleashed at January 23, 2006 11:03 PM
One thing that irritates me the most. I keep getting notifications of updates from some blogs I commented on once.
Posted by: Helen, software developer at April 3, 2006 04:27 PM
Tagging is a very interesting idea but I strongly believe that it needs some sort of standardizing.
e.g. Someone might tag an article KFC while someone else might tag it Kentucky Fried Chicken and a third person K.F.C. There should be a way of realizing that all three tags are in fact a name for the same thing or topic.
We might also come across other tag problems as they become more common so some sort of regulation or standardization can help keep the blogosphere clean and organized :)
Posted by: Jeff at August 19, 2006 12:28 AM
I may be naive but isn't tagging just a very crude form of classification that we had at the dawn of internet search engines. Is it not possible to use google to find anything that people write based on the actual words they write, thesauri and dozens of other million-manhour-developed smarts. I can see the point of tagging pictures because google doesn't yet have shape/picture recognition capability but providing words to classify words makes no sense to me.
Posted by: Colin at January 19, 2007 04:18 AM