Saturday, March 25, 2006

thoughts on the tagging exercise

Looks like Em is writing up the notes I took on how we tagged each other!

I'm happy that everyone let me use them for my experiment. I talked for a few minutes about tagging, and then passed out post-it notes and sharpie markers. I asked everyone to write down at least three tags, and more if they liked. The tags were for each other - and it's okay to tag one person three times or three people one time, or whatever. No limits. So: an initial writing down tags phase. (Everyone self conscious! What to write! Who to tag!)

Then, all at once, we walked around and stuck the tags to each other. A giggling flurry of sticky paper!

We went around and read them off ourselves. I took notes. Now, we were all very nice to each other and so there was a happy effect of validation and seeing-how-we-see-each-other. But the effect I was after was to see what tags were common, what meta-information emerged. We tended to tag with adjectives or nouns. There were some verbs and short phrases. We tagged our ideas of each other as people and also we tagged the blogs (since some of us know each other mostly through blogs, this made sense.) It was interesting to see who got lots of tags and who got few. I didn't ask people to ID their tags: but this would have been good info as well, to write your name on all the tags you give to other people. Who produced a lot of tags? Who produced only three? Whose tags do you admire or think are clever? That's also info that emerges. I also wanted people to experience the moment of self-consciousness at the moment they are deciding to tag and how to do it. Everyone will see what you think is important.

Then, round two. Now we all know who is tagged with what. We might want to add stuff to a person that we feel is missing, or copy some of the good tags on other people, or tag up ourselves some more. I'm not sure the information changed all that much, but everyone's awareness of what they were doing and that it was visible changed.

I have to think about this exercise some more and how to fiddle with it!

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Anonymous minnie said...

isnt one of the points of tagging to tag with something that other people will be searching for? or to use a tag that other people are using that mostly fits in with your topic.. so that other people will find yout tag? i find i do that on flickr. otherwise there is just one lonely tag that is small and no one will click on.

12:53 PM  
Blogger Denise said...

The tagging exercise sounds excellent. I agree with Minnie, some tagging can seem useless because it's only a tag that an individual would recognize or would attribute to a person, a blog, a topic, a photo. But that individuality has some merit too, doesn't it?

I know I've searched for some odd tags and been pleasantly surprised and seriously stumped at the results. That led to more thinking about what the word or phrase meant to me and means to others.

Too bad this wasn't done with a bigger "audience" - it would have been interesting on another level to see what the internet as a whole would have tagged all of you with. I know I'd have tossed in some completely different tags for some of you - simply because I don't KNOW you, haven't met you and "just read your blogs".

6:40 PM  
Anonymous Denise said...

OK I'm not smoking and it's causing insomnia and on the rare occasion that my eyes stay closed and I enter some sort of sleep state, I'm having weird dreams. One of last night's mini dreams was some sort of laundry list of possible tagging exercises. Damn I want a cigarette.

Family members tagging during difficult discussions.

Several people reading a blog entry (that is untagged or where the author's tags are hidden), tagging the entry and then comparing each other's tags.

Listening to a song and everyone tagging it.

Watching a news segment on TV and tagging it together.

And thankfully I woke up to use the bathroom (again) and long for a smoke (again) and didn't have anymore tagging dreams.

9:09 AM  
Anonymous Em said...

Wow, great suggestions, Denise! I'd like to try more practice tagging sessions at the next camp. We also talked about playing with restrictions, eg. just verbs, which I liked.

Minnie, I agree that that is essentially The Point of tagging, but why not tag radically? Shake up the system a little? We discussed this a little- mentioned bloggers who do totally random tags to see what kind of traffic it generates, and those who use popular tags that have nothing to do with their posts. Liz mentioned an Argie blogger/online novelist who uses tags like, "tits" on the odds that someone searching for porn will end up at her site and reading meaningful content, perhaps to their own surprise...

12:16 PM  

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