Welcome to the home of Noah Brier. I'm the co-founder of Variance and general internet tinkerer. Most of my writing these days is happening over at Why is this interesting?, a daily email full of interesting stuff. This site has been around since 2004. Feel free to get in touch. Good places to get started are my Framework of the Day posts or my favorite books and podcasts. Get in touch.

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Tagging Blog Posts

If you ask me, Jonas Luster has come up with the killer tagging app for blogs. tags4WP is a WordPress plugin that he’s created to allow users to tag a blog entry. Essentially (as I understand it) what it does it change the way WordPress handles categories to allow people to create and categorize in the way one might tag something.

I’ve thought about this idea before and while I maintain that I’m not sure how successful this idea will be, I think it looks like the best offering out there for bringing tags to the mainstream.

The problem I have with it remains that I understand tagging as something done for personal gain. I tag del.icio.us posts so they’re easier to find later, it’s all about me. I use the tags that make the most sense in my own head. So why then would I tag a blog? In most cases, I don’t think I would. However, as I was giving it more thought, I realized I could imagine tagging articles somewhere like the New York Times. That’s because on a large site like that, with many users, if I believed that others would tag articles and that those tags might add value to my experience I would tag articles. I would add to that community.

That’s when it dawned on me, what’s the difference between my blog and the New York Times (no jokes . . . please). Seriously, other than the quality of writing (NYT over me) and visitors (again, NYT wins), what’s the difference? They’re both just web sites that include writings on different topics. Yet because the NYT has a massive amount of visitors I understand it as more of a community. But why? In reality, this is much more of a community to me than the New York Times site could ever be. Lots of friends and family read this site, people I have known for some time. If that’s not a community, what is?

I don’t know that I have answers to all these questions, especially whether tagging makes sense in this context. I still suspect not, but I say it’s worth a try. All I’ve got to do is build the MT plugin.

So tell me, would you tag this post if you could? If so, what would you tag it with?

June 6, 2005