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Social Tagging

Social tagging still shows a lot of promise. It appears, though, that it is falling out of favour. However, I think that friend of a friend and crowdsourced recommendations still make a lot of sense as a way to separate wheat from chaff.

ReadWriteWeb writes about the major decline at Digg.

Digg Redesign Tanks: Traffic Down 26% (Updated With New Reddit Stats)

Some of this is explained by a redesign of Digg that wasn’t liked by loyal Digg users. But don’t think that’s enough to explain the drop in social tagging.

Delicious used to own this space in its pre-Yahoo and unspellable days. I worry that individual user liking, tagging, and otherwise saving stuff and links is unsustainable except maybe in narrow communities and possibly work teams. It can also make sense for personal use. We’ll have to see what the future holds for services like Digg, Reddit, Delicious, etc. I read that Facebook and Twitter are the big places for sharing today and that the act of sharing generates a score that tells use what is popular and what isn’t. Should we be preferring the subtle market-based interactions of whole communities, global populations, groups of friends of communities of practice/interest?

Or are there experts who are better as individual pointers to quality content in the massive vortex that is the web?

Is there a space for librarians as social taggers for specific topics and domains or did this already prove to be inconsistently sustainable with Librarians Index to the Internet, then Open Directory Project, etc.? I wonder . . . is there a risk that computer algorithms will track and sort human web behaviours and that will only be as good as those who particiate . . .? It is all so confusing.


Posted on: September 30, 2010, 7:11 am Category: Uncategorized

2 Responses

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  1. Traffic is down at digg almost entirely because of the redesign. Traffic is up at reddit. Since reddit had more traffic than digg prior to the digg redesign, I’m not sure how reliable it is to use digg as a litmus test for the state of social news.

  2. I think that the challenge faced by sites focused explicitly on tagging is that it misses the important user need: organizing the stuff the user needs for whatever purpose. The social ‘high’ of being a prolific tagger in a given subject domain has been replaced, I think, with the new drug of being well followed or retweeted on Twitter.

    What is still needed — and perhaps only within the context, as Stephen suggests, of “narrow communities and possibly work teams” — are tools that enable users to save and organize their own stuff in a way meaningful to them, and tools to then derive greater value for others out of those tags. A “favorites” tool that allowed categorizing links into user-defined buckets could lead to coordinated serendipity for others (classmates, fellow fans of a genre, etc.)