What are tags anyway?

I was recording a podcast with Chris Pirillo yesterday when he asked me for my definition of tags. It really drove me into a corner – while I understand them on many different levels and have an idea for tagspaces that would conceivably make the infrastructure simpler, it is really hard to explain them simply.

So I went for the stock answer of tags being keywords plus and then babbled on about explanations and usage (please forgive the babbling, and let me recommend that no one does an interview the day after returning from a 10 day vacation). But this has been bothering me ever since, how do you explain tags to people who don’t use them? I really had not been able to come up with a good short explanation until just a short while ago, so I wanted to put this out there and see what everyone thinks – I sure wish I had this one yesterday instead of today…

“Tags are the keywords/phrases that let you into the conversations about things that matter to you and the labels that we put on items of interest such as blogs, photos, and media so that we and others can more easily find them later.”

How does that work? Suggestions for improvement? Am I close?

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  1. #1 by vinu - November 30th, 2005 at 11:45

    I wonder if you made is to ‘tagcamp’. I twas fun => everybody had their own views and uses! My take kind of lies in the words you have described but just more simple! As complex items/process are better explained in simple terms 😀

    “tags are labels”

    Its a metaphor. labels are what we do in the real/physical world. group / recall / brand with anything => blogs / pics / podcasts / videos / people

    btw – will email you soon!

  2. #2 by Rachel - November 30th, 2005 at 14:33

    Maybe what we need is a dejargonizer web site – one where anyone can put in a term and it gives the actual translation of what it is. You type in ‘2.0’, ‘bratpack’, ‘AJAX’ and it gives you the translation. Maybe it exists. Maybe it’s Wikipedia. Who knows… something similar to the AcronymFinder type site. Maybe ‘Dejargonizer.com’ is the first step…

  3. #3 by Bronfiskiffen - January 3rd, 2009 at 19:56

    hello it is test. WinRAR provides the full RAR and ZIP file support, can decompress CAB, GZIP, ACE and other archive formats.

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