I find it interesting that I haven’t seen a new age tagging app that gives special social weight to the tags the authors of works create. Obviously authors get to sort their resources by the tags they’ve assigned, but when it comes to make sense of the aggregation of tags, authors’ tags have no special weight.
This isn’t a criticism. Rather, it’s an observation about how reader-centric we’re becoming.
It also is another signal that we are shifting from topics to interests. Topics get declared by authorities and have authority. They are assumed to have some independent, trans-generational longevity. Topics can even have ontological status: A topic is what a resource is about. In the tagging world, though, a tag expresses what something means to me, the reader. It can say what something is about, but it can just as easily denote its genre (“humor”, “disclosure statements”), significance (“must read,” “nitpicking”) or its language. And if the tag expresses the resource’s topic, it’s the topic in its relevance to my interests: I might tag a custard pie recipe as “ballistic object.”
Now, along comes folksonomy, the emergence of taxonomy from the bottom up. It can occur if people get some feedback about how others are tagging resources: If I see that 500 people tag photos of San Francisco as “SanFran” and only three tag them “SF,” I will go with “SanFran” if I want my photos to be found, thus adding to that tag’s momentum.
Does this mean that folksonomies will encourage the re-emergence of topics, bottom up? Are we going to be double-minded, applying one tag for the folksonomy so the resource can be found and others that reflect our own interests? ? (If we also start tagging for local folksonomies — our social networks — we may become multi-minded in our tagging.) Are topics dead or are we rebuilding them in our images? [Technorati tags: tags taxonomy folksonomy ]
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