Friday, March 11, 2005

Tagging: The next great form of communication?

Caterina Fake of has been doing something interesting with her staff blog recently; she's been asking random users to tag certain images at their account with certain names, which she is then finding by doing general searches of the site on that tag, and then including in various group portfolios she is putting together. Here's a recent posting, for example, where she asks all readers with photos of Christo's "The Gates" to add a tag to the photo called "gatesmemory;" and here's another where she wants people who have portraits of strong women to tag them "womensday05" so that she can feature them on a group page in honor of Women's Day.

It's an ingenious way to collect up specific things one might be looking for, without either party having to take on too much work; the posters, after all, only have to add one more tiny little text tag to a photo, while the searcher needs only to do a simple search with the site's built-in search engine.

There are a growing amount of sites doing this, to tell you the truth, using tags as a way not only to better organize a huge set of raw data, but also specifically to gather up material for specific projects. I'll be writing more about this at my main journal this Monday, but it's basically gotten me thinking all about the subject of tags recently, and the various ways they might be able to be used in the future. Anyway, these Flickr posts are enough to chew on for now - watch for my further thoughts on the subject Monday.