Tagging Up Stuff

(Originally posted 2013-09-06.)

This post is in response to Kelly's post "Hashtags – love 'em or hate 'em? ".

My true response is "well, neither really." 🙂

A slightly more considered response would be to note that the utility of hashtags has decreased markedly over time:

  • In the beginning there was e.g. Twitter without any kind of searchability.
  • Then it got better.
  • The End. 🙂

Seriously, if you wanted to find material on a subject, outside of something like Twitter that had no search, you'd use a standard web search engine. You might've noticed that I'm not motivated to put tags on my blog posts any more: I've seen far too good results with web searches to bother.

I also think the bother of curating tags is too much – and most tag-bearing sites don't make it easy. Two examples of this are this very blog and Evernote. By curation I mean things like merging two tags, most notably because of spelling or capitalisation issues.

And that's just dealing with my own tags. If we're talking about a tag you expect people to agree on it's even worse.

Having said that, I do plan on using the Twitter hashtag #batchres13 for the residency I'm running in October (and encouraging others to use it as well). That's more a "try to generate a little interest in what we're doing thing" than anything. (Though, used consistently, it might help us keep track of what's said about the residency on Twitter. We'll see.)

Kelly says something interesting:

"I don't attempt to measure my social business with hashtags, simply because I don't think they are ever static or consistently applied by the world at large."

I'd agree with that (and part of it goes hand in hand with what I said about curation). I'd also add that I have no pressing need to measure my social media effectiveness, but rather just to "do what I do". (I've said this before.) Others will have different imperatives and might take a different view.

A phenomenon I'm seeing more of is the "joke" use of tags, particularly on Twitter. Now that's something I can buy into, used lightly.

So, no, I'm not wild about tags either.

And, in case you wonder about the title of this post, the "cultural" reference 🙂 is to this. (This might be slightly NSFW.) I'm guessing I don't get many readers who aren't old enough to be allowed to play this. 🙂

Published by Martin Packer

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