In my last post, I provided links to a lot of well-written criticism of the “tag cloud” / folksonomy approach to organizing content. Yet it’s pretty clear that tag-based folksonomies make it easier to find certain types of information.
Amit Ranjan (the head of Uzanto’s India operations) has a great post describing the Macromedia MAX conference in Delhi (a conference I went to last year).
The conference happened mere weeks before the announced merger with Adobe. His report gives insight into the spirit of Macromedia immediately pre-merger, describing a marketing/technical team with “a swagger in their walk”, feeling they have the potential to be the “Microsoft of the web”. Pride goes before the fall, boys!
Tagging (a la del.icio.us / flickr / technorati) is a clever newish technique for empowering users to organize digital content. But alas, in the world of blogging, and in the world of the west-coast tech elite, nothing is ever just a useful, good innovation. It’s always the “new new thing”, the game-changing paradigm that will eliminate all that comes before it.
Tagging jumped the shark with Clay Shirkeys overheated “ontologies are overrated” speech at ETech 2005, and since then a host of articles challenging the idea of tags as information nirvana have emerged like mushrooms after a rainstorm. Below are some choice excerpts from the backlash.
The crowd, as it always is at TIE events, was a mix. The usual Indian serial entrepreneurs, who have been in the game longer than you’ve been alive, hard-core fat-fingered desi supercapitalists who start a new company every year and could eat you for breakfast, were in attendance. White dudes from Sand Hill Road cruise the heavy hitters, looking for a fast, mutually beneficial transaction. Caught in the middle of this mating dance, herds of newbies trying to start their first company (or just trying to network their way into a better job) circle nervously, clutching their drinks and trying to make small-talk. Everyone has an agenda, something they want to sell or buy, a rumor they want to spread, something. Did I mention there was free booze and good Thai food? My kind of party.