When is a tag not a tag? When it’s a label

You may have noticed that while most of the web world has gone hog wild for tags google have been putting in labels all over the place. Is it just their foolish attempt to stamp their authority on the web. Are we going to suddenly have Jimbo Whales jumping up and down shouting, “I told you don’t fight the web”?

Well no google does use both they just use them in different contexts (although they have been known to get them a bit confused) and the difference between these contexts is quite useful.

Tags are meant for making sense of things that other people have created. Labels are used for making sense of things you have created. So on del.icio.us people are tagging things and perhaps a folksonomy will emerge but it also allowed in this context to have personal tags which don’t describe the thing, eg the popular towatch and toread. People are using the tags here to help themselves organise the data out in the world.

But here on my blogger powdered blog I’m labeling because I the author am categorising my own creations.

It’s a difference but it’s a very useful one. Not as some commentators have said simply google being controlling.

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