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Experimenting with Personal Tags

The TwinF site has given me some fun opportunities to try-out some of the new tools coming out of the Drupal community of late. An example is the use of tags to organize the content of our “Dispatches�?, or blog posts.

We quickly found out that we need a strategy- some way to have some consistency in our tagging. Otherwise, we risk the tags sprawling out in all directions at once. For instance, singular vs. plural tags… Do we tag something “photo�? or “photos�?, “preparation�? or “preparations�?, “gadget�? or “gadgets�?? It only takes one letter to split the content. We have a long way to go with this one.

We also considered opening the tagging of our Dispatches to the community- enabling site visitors to tag our posts. But would the community make our own strategies worthless? Would they make the overall tagging better?

I say no, the community should not be able to tag our blog posts. The reason is because there is no personal connection to the tags. On del.icio.us, Flickr, 43 Things, etc., tagging is done as a community activity, but also a personal means of navigating content. The personal tags roll-up to the community tags, which, en mass, represent the membership’s overall taxonomy.

On TwinF, the personal motivation isn’t present- there is no way for members to keep a list of their personal tags that is separate from our tags. The members would just interfere with our needs to organize our content from a personal perspective.

So, we’ll keep trying to get the strategy right and hope for the best outcome. I’m pretty stoked about the way the tag cloud is looking- it matches with what I’d say is on our mind the most. I just hope it doesn't get out of control.

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