virtual packratting?

So I like the new QuakerQuaker.org function where anybody can contribute to the category pages, and especially the way Martin has figured out how to keep track of all the posts regarding a specific event.

But I wonder what people really do with most of the items they tag with del.icio.us or Technorati or the other social bookmarking systems.

How many people actually go back to the blog posts they tag?
What percentage of tags are ever seen by anyone after the initial click?

Will these sites become a vast virtual attic of posts that were too good to throw away but no one has any idea what to do with them or even what all is in there?


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Blogger Elaine said...

It's no more of a attic than a library is.

After working in the digital library field for a while, i understand social tagging as the analogous action to cataloging books: it is mainly so that others can more easily find the content.

In practice, i find that i am able to share my virtual reference shelf with Christine and colleagues using del.icio.us, and i go back looking for things. And since i don't cultivate or expect a regular readership for my own online writings, i find that tagging entries has gotten the attention of others who share the concern or interest represented in the entry. (Many folks have watch lists for certain tags).

And with del.icio.us in particular, i find the ability to have others send me links via the delicious network function is more productive than via email. I'm for:judielaine if you wish to add me to your network there.

5/02/2007 12:09 PM  
Blogger Martin Kelley said...

Funny, I'm actually writing about this in another context... I think Judielaine is right on target. It's as much for other people. If search engines are doing their work right (spammers make it hard) then they're sifting all of these networks of information into their algorithms. When a particular post has been bookmarked four times, that's a sign that it's important. Bookmarking is also a good way of passive communicating: because del.icio.us is social, it's easy to watch what the people on your friends list are tagging. I'll often follow a link you or Wess or someone else makes, it's a nice way to get a taste of the breadth of each other's interests.

5/02/2007 12:48 PM  
Blogger Robin M. said...

Hi judielaine! Hi Martin!

I'm glad to hear that both of you are using your tags in the way they were intended. But I still think, knowing both of you, that you are in the top tier, a small percentage, of social bookmark users.

I technically know how to send someone a link via del.icio.us, but how often do I remember that it's a possibility? Not so much.

How many people ever go back and cull their tags, the way libraries sometimes do, to get rid of links that are outdated or no longer functional?

Are we so infatuated by the seemingly infinite storage space online that we don't bother to weed out what we don't want or need?

Maybe this is just a reminder to myself to ask why I'm tagging something, and to be more systematic about how I use the cataloguing process.

5/02/2007 2:47 PM  
Blogger David Andrew said...

I tend to tag and forget - but since I have put my tag cloud at the bottom of my blog - it is there for others, and as a result I look at it every so often

5/02/2007 3:27 PM  
Blogger Robin M. said...

Oooh. I meant to put my tag cloud on my blog at some point, but I totally forgot about that. Hmmm. Thanks for reminding me, David Andrew.

5/04/2007 3:12 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

HI Robin,
Good questions and I've wondered about this too. So far it's still worth me using delicious:
1) I visit it almost daily - get to stuff I've tagged in my various "to blog about" categories.
2) I post to it very often
3) I bookmark resources so I can send friends the URL to that one tag
4) Started using a tag URL in posts instead of linking to 5 posts on something -- nice thing about that is the tag can continue to be added to whereas the post with 5 links will always just have those 5 links.
5) and Finally, Martin's QQ magic makes it worth it.

5/09/2007 7:04 PM  

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