Pew Internet: We Tag

by Marianne Richmond on January 31, 2007

The Pew Internet released a report today that stated 28% of net users tag content on line; 7% tag daily. The specific question asked related to using tags to organize online photos, news stories and blog posts.

The report states that "tagging is gaining prominence as an activity some say is a web 2.0 hallmark in part because it advances and personalizes online searching. Traditionally search on the web is done by keywords. Tagging is a kind of next stage search phenomenon, a way to mark, store, and then retrieve content that users already found valuable…it is more tailored to individual needs and not meant to be an all inclusive system."

According to Pew, those tagging are the usual suspects of early tech adoption: younger, better educated, higher income and of course, broadband. Del.ici.ous and Flikr put it on more radar screens and Technorati made it a tool of the blogosphere. Into the future, tagging will be more of a mainstream internet activity as it is built into the experience at Amazon, Gmail, and Yahoo.

So, what is the attraction of tagging? Pew includes an interview with David Weinberger who says it allows users to organize the vastness of the web and because it is social…meaning we share our tags on line as well as our photos. I have to admit, I tag for myself although I am happy to share….I tag what I am interested in so I can find it later. Probably, I am not highly evolved enough in the social part of tagging.

However, as I thought about it, Tagging, the concept; or understanding Tagging, the concept was actually the basis for getting to know several of my favorite bloggers: Marshall Kirkpatrick, Toby Bloomberg, and Beth Kanter.

Another aspect of tagging that I think is Web 2.0 noteworthy was highlighted by Charlene Li in December of 2005, when Yahoo bought Del.ic.ious: tagging creates value, asset value.

Charlene writes, " Yahoo! bought social bookmarking and tagging leader to add bookmark tagging to its social computing portfolio. The value of tagging is that when individuals label something online, they call it out as valuable. If enough people tag Yahoo!-stored assets, then the collective intelligence of the masses is captured for all to use, and Yahoo!’s site becomes richer, clearer, and more satisfying — all magic words to an ad-supported business model. Other portal, search, media, and retail sites should join the ranks of Yahoo! in making tagging a core asset."

Useful explanations of tagging: Chiara Fox and Rashmi Sinha

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