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Adolescent Diary Weblogs and the Unseen Audience

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November 11, 2005

Why bloggers tag

Mary Hodder at Napsterization has a post on Tagging by Bloggers, a Small Study. Of course this caught my eye since I have pretty conflicted feelings on this avenue of organization. See what you think.

Those interviewed talked about the following that would help them tag or cause them to want to tag when they were not doing so now:

1. A desire to create tags in their blogging software in similar ways to how they create 'categories' -- meaning they wanted to use a pulldown menu or something with similar ease, to quickly tag a post. This included the desire to have tags be invisible on their blog pages, as some of them have invisible categories in their posts. Some of those with invisible categories at the post level still have category searches visible at the sidebar level of their blogs. They would be interested in showing tags at the sidebar location, if they choose. But all felt these choices of visibility and invisibility at various points in their blog posts and overall blogs should be left to them as it is now with categories, and those choices should not bar them from participating in Technorati's tag program.

2. These bloggers rarely added new categories to their blogs, and saw the value of having large buckets to categorize their posts, and didn't want to add new categories all the time. Partly this was due to how difficult the software make it to add categories, and partly this was due to seeing in practice that there was value to 'large bucket' categories, and 'little context' tags. These small tags were desirable because they could be applied to a post on just one time, but categories would come up at least every few days.

3. These bloggers all understood the meaning of a link in their posts. They knew the value of those links, and thought carefully about where they pointed in posts before doing so. They did not like being forced to put a link to something in their tags, if they were not so inclined. They would prefer to have the choice to make a link or not make a link, depending on the circumstances of the post.

4. If a link was placed in a tag, at their choosing, they wanted more flexibility to choose where the link went, beyond Technorati's tags pages, Flickr or Many did not like that in order to make the tag, they had to place a link, and then because they wanted to make links that 'made sense' to their readers (the links would 'go somewhere'), they felt forced to repeatedly link to these same couple of sites. Some wanted to be able to easily make their 'own tag pages.' Some wanted to be able to link to other places besides tagging sites, that had some meaning to them. And some asked to be able to link somewhere, and tag the link, and have that be understood to their readers and the systems that would pick up those tags.

5. A little less than half of these bloggers asked to be able to tag a specific object in their blog posts. They regularly posted photos, either their own, or brought in some code from another site to repost the photo, with or without text around that photo. They wanted to be able to tag just the photo in their post, but tag the post at the bottom of the post, following Technorati's directions for tagging.

6. A couple of the respondents said they would like to be able to tag comments from readers of their blogs, and they might consider, if they have registered commenters, allowing those commenters to tag posts, objects or other comments as well.

7. All of them liked the idea that tagging would allow them to participate in a community, but they wanted to control that participation themselves, at the publishing level of a post.

Posted by prolurkr at November 11, 2005 03:11 PM

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It's important to note that this was an atypical group of bloggers - half were already Technorati tag users and "all were regular users of tags in other systems: or Flickr types of systems". Most bloggers I am guessing don't know what tagging is and could care less.

Posted by: David Brake at November 12, 2005 05:22 AM