Do I know you?

Tagging is the reverse of “foldering”, Part II

Posted by Gia Lyons on April 24, 2008

(Read Part I for context)

T.W. (Traditional Worker) says, “Whuh?”

Ok, let’s walk through this, nice and simple. IT wants to make intranet search better, so they deployed an internal social bookmarking service, like Lotus Connections Dogear. They’re trying to get people to use it. By the way, here’s a secret to getting people to use new software faster: try to take advantage of people’s existing behaviors. For example, most folks already have the brain-dead motor skill of bookmarking a website in their browser. So, it’s a minor physical change to get people to start clicking Dogear’s “Bookmark This!” button in their toolbar instead.

Anyway. Somebody sits down with T.W. to teach her how to use Dogear. T.W. is an influential “node” in the organizational network, because she seems to know everyone, and everyone tends to go to her to learn stuff. The hope is that if she “gets” it, she’ll tell hundreds more. (Insert your social network science terms for what T.W. is here. But remember, T.W. doesn’t give a ratfart about social network science. She just wants to churn out those TPS reports and go home.)

T.W. finds a website she wants to remember. She clicks “Bookmark This!” in her toolbar, then clicks “Save” in the resulting pop-up window. Done.


The URL, page title, her name, and the date are stored in the Dogear database, listed in her “My Bookmarks” page, searchable by others, and ready to influence relevancy rankings in intranet search results (batteries not included).


She could stop here, but something’s missing. T.W.’s a foldery kind of gal, who likes to place her bookmarks into folders so that her brain categorizes it up there in her grey matter – this is the reason many of us physically put stuff in folders, so that it’s easier to do so mentally – she’s got a new thing to learn: tagging.

Tomorrow, Part III: Tagging’s yuck factor for the traditional worker

P.S. Here’s a 2005 high-brow version of that last paragraph for all you cognitive science geeks.


4 Responses to “Tagging is the reverse of “foldering”, Part II”

  1. Steve Cogan said

    Like the series, will watch for number 3 :-)

    To me, one of the main reasons I switched to dogear from the ‘traditional’ hit “bookmark” or “favourite” (with a U) was that I’d run out of sub-folders really quickly. The whole multiple scrolling, expanding folder scenario became more than my mouse could cope with. It reached the point when I’d have to spend valuable time ‘house-keeping’ my bookmarks/favourites on a regular basis, when I’d inevitably weed out older ones. Of course, at a later date I’d think “now where did I put that?” only to realise I’d deleted it. (Mental note: never throw anything useful away, it’ll come in handy one day…)

    Now, I’ve gone past that threshold using dogear/tagging – plus I’m able to share my findings with colleagues. One of them has got the message and says, “every time I ask Steve for something, he just says ‘check my dogears – it’ll be in there’!”.

  2. Gia Lyons said

    Sweet testimonial, Steve, thanks (with no U)!

  3. […] About Gia Lyons « Tagging is the reverse of “foldering”, Part II […]

  4. Social bookmarking is a worthy and fundamental resource to utilize in marketing your website. By utilizing a automatic bookmarking tool, a consistent submission method and by having high quality unique original content you are able to maximise the gains from social bookmarking.

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