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Tagging from personal to social


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This is for a keynote I gave at WWW 06 in Edinburgh

Published in: Technology, Health & Medicine
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Tagging from personal to social

  1. 1. Tagging – From Personal to Social: Some Observations & Design Principles Rashmi Sinha Uzanto
  2. 2. Structure of Talk <ul><li>My Perspective </li></ul><ul><li>Tagging on a Personal Level </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Compared to categorization </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Social Systems formed by Tagging </li></ul><ul><li>Tagging & Wisdom of Crowds </li></ul><ul><li>Some weaknesses </li></ul><ul><li>9 Design Principles </li></ul>
  3. 3. Cognition in the wild <ul><li>Cognitive Anthropology: Understanding culture by understanding cognition </li></ul><ul><li>Two main methods </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Pile Sorting </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Freelisting </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Free-listing <ul><li>Goals </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Explore boundaries & scope of domain </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Capture cultural consensus </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Gain familiarity with user vocabulary </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Strengths </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Simplicity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Flexibility </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Conducted as part of interview, or as written exercise </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Name all the x's you know.” </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Digital Categorization Multiple concepts activated Choose ONE of the activated concepts. Categorize it! Object worth remembering (article, image…) Analysis-Paralysis! <ul><li>Analysis Paralysis </li></ul><ul><li>Balancing your scheme </li></ul><ul><li>Over time – category boundaries change, labels obsolete </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>Cannot place in more than one place </li></ul><ul><li>Disappears from view </li></ul><ul><li>Mistakes are costly </li></ul>
  7. 7. Tagging is simpler Multiple concepts are activated Tag it! Note all concepts Object worth remembering (article, image…) <ul><li>Goal is to categorize </li></ul><ul><li>Maps to cognitive process </li></ul><ul><li>Reduced load </li></ul><ul><li>Fun, Self-feedback, social feedback </li></ul><ul><li>Less balancing of scheme </li></ul>
  8. 8. Tagging still leads to anxiety <ul><li>Differs from person to person </li></ul><ul><ul><li>And by domain </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Solution not simpler input process (though that could help) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Confidence in finding </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Some hypothesis <ul><li>Tagging takes lesser time than categorizing </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Users generate tags/categorize for new emails / bookmarks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Measure : Time to categorize compared to time for 1 OR 2 OR 3 tags </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Categories are more memorable than a tag </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Give users 30 secs. per item to generate tag OR categorize </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Measure : Recall of tag / category after a week </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Comparing different types of tags </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Personal tags are more memorable than Semantic ones </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Measure : Tag recall after a week </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Semantic tags are generated first </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Measure : Order of Semantic and Personal tag generation </li></ul></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Hypothesis (cont) <ul><li>Hierarchy & non-exclusivity </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Compare time taken </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Recall </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Difficulty </li></ul></ul>(D) Categorization (C) Flat Categorization Exclusive (B) Hierarchical Tagging (A) Tagging Non-Exclusive Hierarchical Flat
  11. 11. The Personal to the Social
  12. 12. Browsing alone
  13. 13. Along together <ul><li>Alone together (Ducheneaut et al. CHI 2006) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Passive presence of others </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Playing for the audience but not necessarily interacting </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Social facilitation (Zajonc, 1960) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Improvement in performance in presence of others </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Presence does not need to be active </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Observed even in cockroaches! </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Tagging as second generation social network <ul><li>Actually useful! </li></ul><ul><li>Lots of weak ties (Granovetter: The strength of weak ties ) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Social networks emphasize strong ties (lists of contacts, friendship ratings) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Objects (tags) mediate social relationships </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Objects are reasons people affiliate with each other </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Provide context for relationship. Means for new relationships. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Theory: Object centered sociality (sociologist Karin Knorr Cetina) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Application: Interest based groups </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Collaborative Tagging & Expertise in the Enterprise (John & Seligman) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fringe Contacts: People Tagging for the Enterprise (Ferrell & Lau) </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Tagging and Wisdom of Crowds <ul><li>Cognitive Diversity </li></ul><ul><li>Independence </li></ul><ul><li>Decentralization </li></ul><ul><li>Easy Aggregation </li></ul>
  16. 16. 1. Cognitive Diversity <ul><li>Need many perspectives for good answers </li></ul><ul><li>Groups become homogenous </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Members bring less and less new information in </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Varying levels of insight & knowledge provide good mix </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Better than everyone having a lot of knowledge! </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Diversity reduces groupthink </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Groupthink works by shielding members from outside opinions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rationalize away counterarguments </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Diversity reduces conformity </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Chance that you will change opinion to match group </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. 2. Independence <ul><li>Keeps people’s mistakes from getting correlated (uncorrelated mistakes averaged out) </li></ul><ul><li>Encourages people to bring in new viewpoints (diversity) </li></ul><ul><li>Concept of Social Proof </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Milgram experiment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>People assume that groups know what they are doing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Assuming crowd is wise, leads to herd like behavior </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Can sometimes lead to good decisions </li></ul></ul></ul>
  18. 18. 2. Independence (cont.) <ul><li>Information Cascades </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sequence of uninformed choices, building upon each other </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Example: Thai & Indian restaurant </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Information is imperfect – sometimes incorrect, sometimes correct </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Decisions made in sequence </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Everyone relies on own information </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>And what everyone else is doing </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Wrong information propagates down in a chain </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ideal when people make decision relying on private information </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Compare & digg </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Information Cascades can be good </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Example: Iowa farmers decision about hybrid corn </li></ul></ul></ul>
  19. 19. Imitation & Suggestion <ul><li>Intelligent & mindless imitation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Human beings are imitation machines </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Imitation is a good thing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Bad when you don’t reply on private information </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>And don’t make independent judgment </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Example: Japanese macaques learning to separate wheat from stones </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Build some method to let people evaluate tag suggestions </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Imitation & Suggestion in Tagging Systems </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Lazy Sheep bookmarklet </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Google Suggest approach </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Towards the Semantic Web: Collaborative Tag Suggestions (Xu et al.) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Implicit Tagging using Donated Bookmarks (Markines, et al.) </li></ul></ul>
  20. 20. 3. Decentralization <ul><li>Encourages independence </li></ul><ul><li>Takes advantage of tacit knowledge </li></ul><ul><ul><li>People have specialized knowledge that might not be communicable to right person in centralized structure </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Problems: Valuable information uncovered in one part of the system does not get communicated to another part </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Need some type of loose coordination </li></ul></ul></ul>“ A crowd of decentralized people working to solve a problem on their own without any central effort to guide them, come up with better solutions, rather than a top-down driven solution.” Suroweicki
  21. 21. 4. Easy Aggregation <ul><li>A decentralized system can pick right solution </li></ul><ul><ul><li>With easy way for information to be aggregated across system </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Example: Francis Galton </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A crowd of people made independent decisions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>He added the votes </li></ul></ul>
  22. 22. Some Weaknesses of tag-based Social Systems
  23. 23. 1. Tag Specificity, Expertise & Perspective <ul><li>Shirky example: Dewey Decimals categorization of world religions </li></ul><ul><li>What about Flickr? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Hinduism: 6512 photos </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Christianity: 5207 photos </li></ul></ul>
  24. 24. Tagging systems are better, but… <ul><li>Tagging systems represent people who participate in them </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Their viewpoints & perspective </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Types of biases </li></ul><ul><ul><li>In-groups might use more specific tags than Out-groups </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Experts might use more specific tags than novices </li></ul></ul>
  25. 25. 2. No easy way to show minority viewpoint <ul><li>Consensus viewpoint bubbles up </li></ul><ul><ul><li>How to give alternative viewpoints a voice? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Example: Catholic Church recognizes Devil’s advocate </li></ul>
  26. 26. 3. Why Amazon tags did not work <ul><li>No clear articulation of benefits </li></ul><ul><li>Mixed with other, more common participation methods </li></ul><ul><li>Busy interface </li></ul><ul><li>No organic growth (seeding with select few) </li></ul>
  27. 27. <ul><li>Too many options? </li></ul>
  28. 28. 4. Adoption by Average User <ul><li>Tag navigation does not suit user task? </li></ul><ul><li>Users do not understand its for navigation? </li></ul>
  29. 29. Design Principles for Tagging Systems
  30. 30. #1: Make System Personally Useful <ul><li>For end-user system should have strong personal use </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Memorable Personal Snippets (e.g., & Flickr) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Self-expression (e.g., Newsvine) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>My expertise or interests (RawSugar) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Don’t count on altruism </li></ul><ul><ul><li>System should thrive on people’s selfishness </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Incent the behavior you want </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Clearly communicate benefits to users </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Create a positive reinforcement cycle </li></ul></ul>
  31. 31. Useful before Saving First Link
  32. 32. #2:Identify Symbiotic Relationship Between Personal & Social <ul><li>Individual participation in system should naturally aggregate into social stream </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What personal snippets do people like to share? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Personal snippets > Social stream </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Example </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Pictures > Organized by Events </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Music > Organized by Playlists </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  33. 33. #3: Make Porous Boundary Between Public & Private <ul><li>Earlier systems </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Personal (Personal Desktop Software, e.g., Picasa, EndNote) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>OR Social websites (Shutterfly) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Rethink public & private </li></ul><ul><ul><li>People will share for the right returns </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Set defaults to public, allow easy change to private </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Provide clear benefit of sharing </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Give user control </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Over individual pieces & sets </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Delete items from history </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Reset /remove profile </li></ul></ul></ul>Privacy settings on Flickr
  34. 34. #4: Provide Outlet for Self-expression <ul><li>Creative self-expression </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Artistic expression (Flickr, YouTube) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Humor (YouTube) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Individual piece should be small </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Can create sets & lists </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Do Mashups </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Simple, guessable URLs for everything </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Leave room for games & social play </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Appreciation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Stalking (some!) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Gossip </li></ul></ul>Writers on Newsvine
  35. 35. #4a. Allow for Different Types of Participation <ul><li>Social sites don’t require 100% active participation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Implicit creation (creating by consuming) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Remixing—adding value to others’ content </li></ul></ul>Source: Bradley Horowitz’s weblog, Elatable, Feb. 17, 2006, “Creators, Synthesizers, and Consumers”
  36. 36. #4b. How to Encourage Participation <ul><li>Insights from Social Psychology research </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Highlight unique contribution </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Allow for smaller local groups </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Highlight benefit to self from participation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Highlight benefit to group </li></ul></ul>Source: Using social psychology to motivate contributions to online communities, Ling et al. 2005
  37. 37. #5. Provide Scent of Others in the System <ul><li>What paths are well worn, what are not </li></ul><ul><li>User profiles / photos </li></ul><ul><li>Real-time updating </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Feels like a conversation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>sense that others are out there </li></ul></ul>What people are digging right now!
  38. 38. #6. And yet, Moments of Independence <ul><li>Choreography: when alone, when part of group </li></ul><ul><li>Prevent mobs, optimize “wisdom of crowds” </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t make it too easy to mimic others </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Incentives for originality & uniqueness </li></ul></ul>
  39. 39. #7. Enable Serendipity <ul><li>Don’t make navigation all about popularity </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Access to some popular stuff (keep this fast moving) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Make the “long tail” accessible </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Use popularity as a jump off point to other ways of exploring </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Provide personalization </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Recommendations using collaborative filtering </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Similar tags, content, others </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Ad-hoc groups? </li></ul>
  40. 40. #8. Allow for alternative viewpoints & perspectives <ul><li>Tags bias perspective in specific manner </li></ul><ul><ul><li>People of a group know more </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Likely to use more specific tags </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Hence less exposure (no hierarchy) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Similar problem for experts </li></ul></ul>
  41. 41. #9. Keep input simple. Solve problems with good findability <ul><li>Tagging shows success of simplicity </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Don't’ increase cognitive cost of tagging </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Tagging systems can support different types of findability </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Some metaphors </li></ul></ul>
  42. 42. #9a. User Experience for Faceted Browse Interfaces <ul><li>User is in control </li></ul><ul><li>Every movement (forward, making a turn) is a conscious choice </li></ul><ul><ul><li>System should provide information at every step </li></ul></ul><ul><li>If user makes mistakes, she can go back or start again </li></ul>Like driving a car…
  43. 43. #9b. User Experience with Recommender Systems <ul><li>User has less control over specifics of interaction </li></ul><ul><li>System does not provide information about specifics of action </li></ul><ul><li>More of a “black box” model (some input from user, output from systems) </li></ul>Like riding a roller coaster…
  44. 44. User Experience with Browsing Tagging Systems <ul><li>Pivot Browsing </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Move at a slower pace </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Get the lay of the land, directly experience surroundings </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Change paths when you want </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Choose paths based on what looks promising, how well worn, what signs say </li></ul></ul>Like a hike in the woods
  45. 45. You can do all three with tags <ul><li>Faceted Systems from Tags </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Inducing Ontology from Flickr, Schmitz </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Collaborative Filtering from Tags </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Automatic Tag Clustering, Begelman, Keller & Smajda </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Pivot Browsing on Tagging Systems </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Tag-Based Navigation for Peer-to-Peer Wikipedia, Fokker et al. </li></ul></ul>
  46. 46. Parting thoughts <ul><li>Tagging is in the eyes of the tagger </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Can implicit tagging be tagging? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Tagging by others is more useful than tagging by self </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Is tagging about harnessing consensus or personal perspective? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Will Categorization will be back? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Better interface </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Non-exclusive </li></ul></ul>
  47. 47. <ul><li>Questions? </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>URLs </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  48. 48. <ul><li>“In essence tag systems mirror the pagerank structure of Google's system, but make the internal structures browsable and viewable directly.” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Lee Iverson </li></ul></ul>