Archive for December, 2006

Come visit us at the temporary home of the NSCC in Second Life.

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Why tagging is good

One of the hardest things to do online is find what you’re looking for. Believe it or not, people are the best information finders, not computers, & technology that leverages word of mouth — technologies like del.icio.us, Technorati and even Google — have been wildly successful. The first two work through tags (or a word that labels a particular item), whether it’s a word that you use to tag a link or a blog post. The key word here is you. You and people like you do the tagging.

Sometimes you can learn a great deal about something just by looking at the tags people apply to it. Just take a look at how Amazon readers tagged K-Fed’s album to get a sense of how people view this talented guy. 🙂 Looking at a tag cloud for US Presidential speeches can give you a lot of insight into what’s important to particular presidents at particular points in history. (Drag the slider and follow the word “constitution”, for example.)

You don’t necessarily have to agree with others about the words you’re using to tag something (although you might make your info very difficult to find if you tagged your favourite Lord of the Rings site with some elfish slang — unless that’s the convention of other LOTR’s fans).

What are the implications for learning? Well, finding and sharing information is a huge part of learning. If you’re a facilitator, teaching learners how to tag may be tops on the list of important online learning skills, and del.icio.us or a similar site is a good, easy place to start. Furthermore, for those of us who rely on technology to work with groups of people, whether face to face or at a distance, agreeing on a few simple tags for the information you’re collecting can make it so much easier to coordinate your work. For instance, our NSCC Second Life group tags flickr photos, del.icio.us links and blog posts with “nsccsecondlife”.

Want to learn more about tagging? A good place to start is at Wikipedia’s article on tags or this CNET article on tagging, and once you’re a power user, check out sites like Ulises Mejias’ Tag Literacy or Slack Manager’s Several Habits of Wildly Successful del.icio.us Users.

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Welcome 2007!

It’s been a good full year since I’ve blogged, but I’m feeling the need to get my thoughts organized and share. With that in mind, in 2007 I resolve to blog!

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