Total Recall: Tagging for Fun and Organization

I admit I often tweet something I should bookmark using delicious. Since most of my page sharing goes through friendfeed I can always go back and find it, but for organizing my random web quests I think it is important to have a bookmark or tagging strategy.

Here are my top 10 tags from delicious:

delicious tagging, do you organize

I remember a conversation with a friend about search and retrieval of information. This person said, “I just Google it again.” (the reGoogle)

I was not surprised but I pressed my point. “Do you think that others might be interested, or benefit from your breadcrumb path as you are researching a new topic?”

“Maybe, but I’d never take the time to do it.”

A few years back I was working at a fast-moving startup company and much of what I was tasked with doing was exploring opportunities for content creation. Specifically I was working on a pitch to land a Motorola account. In my own example, I created a company delicious account and started tagging my quest with words like “bluetooth” and “mobile gaming.” My concept was that after I had written the proposal, perhaps the actual writer would use some of my links to learn about the concepts I was proposing. I didn’t know anything about mobile gaming at the time, back in 2006.

While the exercise was perfect for what I was doing, I don’t know if it was ever used by anyone but me. I did not win any adoption-of-delicious awards at the company. And I’m sure some of my colleagues looked at me with you-want-us-to-add-WHAT-to-our-plate as we’re researching stories?

My point was this: if you spend two hours Googling a subject and tracking down ideas for a new project, someone following in your delicious path can get to the same primary research in minutes. And if you add notes and thoughtful tags, you can help guide the next person down your thought process.

So back to my friend. I asked, “So you reGoogle everything again when you want to find that informational link on your subject?

“Pretty much.”

“Do you see the benefit of leaving a breadcrumb trail?”

“Sure, but I just don’t have the time to do it.”

I did not press my point any further because the frustration was building on both sides of the discussion. But my next question, in my mind, was this, “So you think it’s easier to do primary research everytime you want to find that specific link to the esoteric research article? And what if you don’t find the same link? How efficient is that?”

So I’m not saying you HAVE to tag and bookmark your web discoveries with delicious or mahalo. And I’m not going to make the point any further than this, “Since I have been using delicious I have tagged over 1,000 pieces of information in my own self-centered and warped tag grid. And if I need to find that funny video from a few years back, I only have 4 funny videos tagged, so it’s easy to find.”

Go Google or reGoogle that.

@jmacofearth
permalink: http://bit.ly/using_tags

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