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Lecture 15: Folksonomy Module 6 Dr. Jessica Laccetti
Outline Key Ideas Folksonomy and Thomas Vander Wal Good and Bad Tag Clouds General Rules Homework
Key Ideas Folksonomy as social activity The erosion or at least blurring of hierarchies and oppositions The impossibility of identity What are some current views about the emergence and diffusion of media?
Folksonomy Folksonomy is the result of personal free tagging of information and objects (anything with a URL) for one's own retrieval. The tagging is done in a social environment (usually shared and open to others). Folksonomy is created from the act of tagging by the person consuming the information.
The "f-word" (as Vander Wal puts it) allows "regular" folks to categorise or structure information in a way that is pertinent to them (i.e. personalised).
Folksonomy As the name suggests, it's a taxonomy made by the folks – user generated definitions and information structures. But folksonomy is just a part of a larger idea: tagging. Tagging is the tying of words to objects. Vander Wall explains that this method of tagging has less "cognitive load" for users because it’s about key words rather than some kind of overlying systemic planning I see it more of a free–form way of categorising information – personalising it
Folksonomy Folksonomy is a subset of tagging – identifying/categorising for personal use, “re–finding” information This aspect of personalisation has important impacts for the business sector in that it allows businesses a view of their product from the customers' point of view. Again, Vander Wal gives a funny example of how tagging can affect your product by showing a cd available on amazon.com (see here) and how it was tagged:
Folksonomy You wouldn't want your product labelled as "talentless" would you...? So, with the help of folksonomy, businesses can move from their "top down" approach to a more open and realistic understanding of their product (or at least how it is perceived).
Folksonomy People/users/taggers are moving from employing tags as descriptors for solely personal use to, the other end of the spectrum, where tags seem to be jumping off points for dialogues and stories
Flickr and Folksonomy Have you noticed on flickr how some photos start so many stories? Tags: pebbles, rocks, flag: http://www.flickr.com/photos/omnia/90953407/ Tags: moose, encounter: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lesec/258467874/ Tags: fall, leaves: http://www.flickr.com/photos/robinthom/52759426/
Tag Cloud In an interview I was asked what makes a good tag cloud?
General Rules For me, a good tag cloud makes information accessible to those who are interested in it. Tag clouds with a gazillion different terms look "messy" to me. Do NOT include spam in tag clouds - that just changes the whole positive participatory idea behind folksonomy. Also, if taggers use a lot of similar words like: blogger, blog, blogging, blogs - that just adds to the mess. Stick to uppercase or lowercase and decide whether you'll use singular or plural terms (blog or blogs? FirstName or firstname?)
Tagging Is dynamic Offers serendipity (not structure) Reflects changing ideas Changing communication
Why Tag? Access to information Useful for sorting (according to the user) Aggregation tool Social communication
Homework Create your own Delicious login and bookmark two sites pertinent to this course. Be sure to include the course tag: ALES204, and send to me using: for:ALES204. Bring a copy of your CV to class on Friday.