Salon writes about “the Web’s newest game, lets you see what other people are reading and thinking.”
Tagging has the potential to spread beyond just a few creative Web sites. Users of Google’s Gmail can add “labels” to their e-mail messages — the equivalent of tags for e-mail. Matthew MacLaurin, a program manager in the social computing group at Microsoft Research, thinks that tags are the future for computer desktop organization: “I personally believe that, over time, tags will rival, if not replace, folders as a primary way that users create organization … Eventually it will be more like folder names — unnoticed and absolutely essential.”
There’s something brilliantly lazy about tags. You don’t have to look up categories that your information fits into, predetermined by a Web designer. You just tack whatever comes to mind onto whatever you are doing, and move on to the next thing.
“Humans like to group stuff by whatever is convenient. That’s the revolution that’s going on here,” says Anselm Hook, 37, who lives on a farm in Scappoose, Ore., where he wrote the code for Books We Like, a book recommendation site that uses tagging. “Tags let people do things by voluntary organization, not what a scientist says or what some organization has done to classify things. It’s a much more folksy, grass-roots application.”