Why Some Tagging Goes Too Far

Album Cover: Wincing the Night Away

"It's like I'm perched on the handlebars of a blind man's bike."
The Shins / Spilt Needles

Posted on January 14, 2007 6:43 PM in Blogging
Warning: This blog entry was written two or more years ago. Therefore, it may contain broken links, out-dated or misleading content, or information that is just plain wrong. Please read on with caution.

I don't think many would argue that tagging has revolutionized the way we store and retrieve data online. Tagging gives users a flexibility not previously offered, and allows them the opportunity to use a consistent (or inconsistent, if they so please) method for organizing important information across multiple servers, data stores, etc.

There are, however, some cases where I believe tagging goes too far. I've certainly mentioned it before, but anytime I see a laundry list of Technorati tags at the end of a blog post, it seems so annoying and bizarre. Imagine if every time you posted you had to leave some special markup at the end of your post to tell Googlebot what search terms you wanted your post to apply to? As I said over at Sean's site, providing direct tag links for Technorati to consume just seems like you're pimping your content out to them. Why not let them earn their keep? In fact, why not instead push for a standard tagging microformat so that Technorati and its competitors know how to pick that stuff up without you catering to any one specific service's needs?

That being said, I'm not really sure tagging in this way is all that necessary anyway. Robert Scoble has already covered this somewhat in The power of blogging on Google. He hits it right on the head. If you're a responsible blogger and make sure Google is paying attention, you can pretty much rely on them as a content storage system that has built-in tag support.

For instance, in writing my post The Future of History a week ago, I did a Google search for 'scoble traffic' to find a post of his that I remembered reading a month before. In fact, while writing this post I've already used Google searches for 480x technorati bernie and scoble google "back out" to find relevant posts using simple tags that apply to what I'm searching for.

I'm pretty sure I could probably do away with my archives by luck at this point and simply rely on Google to point me at my blog's content based on various topics or tags. So next time you consider pimping your blog out to a service like Technorati, make sure you're not forgetting about the bigger beast that's doing a much better job without asking for additional help from you. And always remember that good content has a way of finding people on its own.


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