Year of the Tag

After some year-end ribbing from Gene Smith and David Weinberger, I've chosen the following New Year's Resolution:

I will adopt a kinder, gentler attitude toward tags.

Seriously, my tag bashing past was a reaction to the hyperbole, and not to the phenomenon itself. And I do think the (related tag) clustering algorithms of Flickr, Delicious, and Technorati show promise.

On Flickr, for instance, if I'm describing a photo of a map, I'll probably use map as my tag (7998 photos). But, as a user, I'm likely to search on maps (2426 photos). The first maps cluster guides me to the map clusters, which transport me to the japan-subway-tokyo cluster, which is cool.

Of course, folksonomic success requires a critical mass of user participation and the readiness to relinquish control. Whether tags can cross the chasm to corporate web sites and intranets remains to be seen. But I'm resolved to be optimistic. 2006 will be the year of the tag.