Friday, July 3, 2009

Things I love about tagging

I'm a bit of an online hoarder. I love collecting snippets of information, articles, news items, hints, tips... you name it... I want to put it in a little bag and save it. However, 'favorites' and 'bookmarks' and me don't really get along terribly well. I'm also a bit of a computer-floozy. I'll swap computer at will. As long as I have an internet connection and a keyboard I don't care so very much about the hardware that I'm using... so managing multiple instances of bookmarks is a pain in the backside. Yes, something like xmarks can be a useful add-on, but I still have to sort out installing that... and y'know what... I'm lazy. Something I can use on-the-fly really works for me... which is why tagging is such a handy dandy thing to do.

So, what're the plus points of tagging?
  1. Categorise resources in the way you want to categorise resources
  2. No favorites folders! The same bit of information can have lots of different 'tags', no need to try to shoehorn it into one folder.
  3. They help you search and retrieve resources easily
  4. Those tags are shareable and subscribable... which means you can share what you find and keep track of what others find too
  5. Agree on a unique tag for a project / subject area and you can track all materials for that project
Of the above, number 5 is one of the most useful, I find because it lets you do things like this:

Using something like Friendfeed or NetVibes you can quickly add in the various RSS feeds for your tag of choice and... bingo... all resources in one place, no matter where they came from or who originated them. If you're using Twitter, just use a unique hashtag and you're away. Unique tags are also great for following what happens at conferences and can help create a vibrant backchannel for live comment and discussion. Have a look at the CommonCraft intro to Twitter Search for more detail... it's sure to fire off some ideas on how to use this stuff!

I also thought it would be handy to quickly jot down some of the main ways of I use tags:
  • Aggregating resources for my own use
  • Aggregating resources (from a variety of sources) for projects
  • Pooling resources for a team (for example in the Educational Development Unit at NTU, we use the tag NTUEDU on Delicious to pool any elearning-related links we find)
  • Creating a backchannel for an event using a unique tag
  • Subscribing to specific tags to follow what's happening in that field
Will try to add more to the above as they come to me.

PS Am I very sad for my tag-love?! :o)
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