Queer as folk...sonomy

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Ok, ok, bad title. Sue me.

There's this neat article on Wired.com. It discusses this new Web phenomenon dubbed "folksonomy" by Thomas Vander Wal. It's a combination of taxonomy (the classification of stuff, period) and the wisdom of the crowds (or folks).

A really good example of this folksonomy is Flickr. We've been studying this site here at work in order to knock off some of its features (shhh! don't tell anybody!).

It's a pseudo online community where people can upload their photos. And put them in sets. And the user interface is totally awesome. Oh, and they have these little things called "tags".

You can classify your photos according to these "tags" (or categories... like "Beach", "Vacation", "PuertoVallarta", "Drunk", "Party", whatever... or literally, "Whatever"). Oh, and other people can add tags to your photos. It's in this communal ability to classify that the folksonomy is created. Many people help categorize your photos. And the majority rules.

I was rummaging through Flickr, and I found it rather neat. I was wandering through some of the categories (or "tags") and it was quite interesting to see what a simple thing like "Beach" could mean to one person and to another.

The most interesting tag by far is "Me". You have no idea how varied and odd the concept of "self" is to different people. You have everything from the outrageous, the artistic, the usual, and even the overwhelmingly hot.

Folksonomy, another consequence of connecting people with wires.


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