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Tagging is the reverse of “foldering”, Part III

Posted by Gia Lyons on April 25, 2008

(Read Parts I and II for context)

Tagging’s yuck factor for the traditional worker

T.W. says, “Urgh. Tagging. Look, I just want my dang folders. It’s what I’m comfy with. Piles of papers all over my desk. More papers in filing cabinets underneath it. Documents in folders on my computer. Like the little rooms I imagine are in my head, where I store all the crap I’ll forget when I’m older.”

Ah yes, Grasshopper, but you can usually only put something in one folder at a time, right? Wow, that’s a lot of cognitive pressure to come up with THE magic folder label for that thing on the spot, and then somehow remember what you called it later. I take it you enjoy doing mental gymnastics every time you need to find something again.

Tagging is the reverse of foldering: instead of putting something into one folder, you put lots of “folder labels” onto the thing.

After T.W. clicks “Bookmark This!”, and before she clicks “Save”, she can put some “folder labels” on that bookmark. TIP: use tags that you would normally type into Google to find that thing again.

R2_Dogear_BookmarkletForm_withTags

So now, T.W. can categorize something in many ways, not just one. She can find it again later by remembering any of those tags, then either searching for it, or clicking on it in her tag cloud in Dogear. And, she can use Dogear to bookmark anything she can browse to, inside or outside the firewall.

And then…

T.W. will eventually find loads more stuff from other people who’ve used the same tags, and then, “wow! look at that! I was just looking for that last week! Heyyyy, this bookmark/tag thingy is cool! Hey, T.C.W. (Traditional Co-Worker)… c’mere and look at this…”

Back to my customer discussion.

We talked about the value of using a tagging service to let people type tags directly onto intranet web pages themselves, like this:

In-place_tagging

But, since traditional workers are not used to typing directly onto a web page (that’s not Web 1.0!), and since this method doesn’t really place that page into their own personal bookmark stash, they skip it.

Maybe you’ll find those who’ll tag pages directly for the needs of the many, since they outweigh the needs of the few, or the one, (unless you’re the one). But those folks are going to be a minority for now.

I say, address the “What’s in it for me?” thing first, before guilting them into helping out the rest of the company.

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