In case you havenâ€™t noticed, the social software world is tagging. A handful of sites are turning to tags as a way organize information on the web (often referred to as "folksonomy").
Tags are like keywords that are assigned by users- essentially metadata (information about information). By collecting these tags, a complex and growing site can provide users with a useful look at information based on grouping resources around the words users use to describe it.
For instance, I might tag a picture of my wife with the words â€œwife, Sachi, 2005, portraitâ€??. With thousands of users doing the same thing, useful information emerges from the masses. It is both emergent and real time data that can be used among small groups of people or the whole web.
Del.icio.us was one of the first that I was aware of. Del.icio.us is a social bookmarking manager. Using Del.icio.us I can make bookmarks to cool things I see on the web and then share them with others. You assign tags to each bookmark, relating to a description of the page youâ€™re bookmarking.
Furl provides a similar system and they call their tags â€œTopicsâ€??. On this page(membership req), you can see tags on the right and headlines on the left with a color code for popularity- relating to how many people have bookmarked it. Bookmarking a site is similar to voting for it and tagging that bookmark is describing it.
Flickr has an impressive tagging system too. Flickr is a photo sharing community. Whenever I upload photos to Flickr, I assign them tags. Then I can use these tags to find related groups of pictures in the future. With Flickr, the tags I assign are also rolled up to the larger community. Here are the current 150 most used tags in Flickr. I like how Flickr uses tags for personal navigation too.
43 Things uses tags to manage all their â€œthingsâ€??. Things are goals- like â€œLearn to remember peoplesâ€™ namesâ€??. Their tags are displayed similarly to Flickrâ€™s. This post on the Robot Coop blog tells their story of tagging.
Technorati recently started tagging. Technorati watches the connections (via links) that happen between web sites (usually weblogs). It allows users to know when their site is being linked-to anywhere on the web among other things). Now, bloggers can add tags to their posts.
Recently Technorati started combining tags from multiple sites mentioned above (Del.icio.us, Furl, Flickr) to create pages that display tags across a number of resources (pictures, bookmarks, blog posts). Very cool.
Very recently, 43 things is doing it similarly Technorati and combining their own tags from Flickr and Del.icio.us.