Tags vs Circles for Friends

Gear Head

I’m in total limbo when it comes to Google and my friends

Google Plus delivered a new way to classify your friends (although it was first seen in diaspora’s aspects) but I was using Gmail’s Contacts with the tagging previously.

What this boils down to is Taxonomy vs Folksonomy and credit goes to Stowe Boyd, Thomas Wanderwal and others.

I’ve been thinking about the merits of both approaches and concluded that even if Google included the ability to have circles within circles, it wouldn’t be as flexible as a purely tagging/folksonomy based system. The problem seems to center around classifying friends and people full stop. Categories, Circles or rather Taxonomy’s are too ridged and forced. Which to be frank classifying your relationship with people isn’t.

I refer to this table

Taxonomy Folksonomy
Brittle Flexible
Accurate (if done well) Less reliable
Compliance must be forced Rewards but doesn’t force compliance
Hard to add to Easy to add to
Centrally controlled Democratically controlled
Predictable Organic

The attributes of Folksonomies sound a lot closer to the emergent nature of relationships than Taxonomies.

There is a question which remains however… What happens if Google do adopt Circles within Circles? Or even follow the Twitter lists way of doing things?

Hopefully Google will adopt their own Gmail folksonomy approach in the future, but it does looks very unlikely…?

Facebook for my old crusty photo collections

Me and the wowball

Most people know how much I really hate Facebook, although in the last few months I’ve slightly warmed to it for certain things.

Recently I scanned all my old negatives into jpgs, and I’m not sure what to do with them?

Normally I would upload them to Flickr.com like most of my photos but to be honest I only upload the best of my shots to flickr.com (even though I have a pro account and I have done for the last 4+ years). It just didn’t make sense to upload the old crusty scanned pictures to flickr.com. So I had a think and decided that the best place to publicly put them is on Facebook. Yes the EULA still really bugs me and It probably means Facebook now owns my photos but heck, there so old and crusty, that I don’t really care. Better online somewhere that lost in negative form forever?

On the upside, most of the photos are from when I was in school, so most of the people in the photos will be on facebook too. This means they can tag the photos to death and write stupid comments which make youtube comments look like degree essays in comparison. Oh and of course there will be the crazy (its taking over the web like crazy) "I like this" button for those who can’t be bother to say anything meaningful… (Geez I’m so snotty about facebook, I should really stop being so darn negative about it)

I also reckon theres roughly about 300 of them once you take out some of the duplicates (I did the scanning over a few days and didn’t really do a good job of splitting the done and to do piles, so shoot me). No one really wants to see my photostream full of old crusty photos for almost 300 photos… Heck not even I want to see that. So I’ll use facebook as I’ve been using it previously, a massive dumping ground for publicly available data. I’ve marked the photos as public, so it will be interesting to see what that means in the great scheme of things.

I’m aware there is some facebook event later today but I doubt its anything which will change my view on facebook or using it.

So old friends of mine, do check out the tip of the iceberg collection i’ve uploaded so far under school days (I was tempted to write skool daze but I don’t want to encourage the super lameness which comes with facebook stuff). I’ll upload the rest once Facebook stops telling me to update my flash player or I can be bothered to deal with the crappy html uploader.

Oh yeah I’m aware that this does get fed into facebook via rss. So no offense meant to my lovely facebook friends… Actually screw it. Isn’t all this so AOL 2.0???? What did you all think about me making it public instead of just my little network? Whooo the public Internet is so scary 🙂

Geek and Geekhag podcast number six – semantic what?

My and Sarah's sixth podcast is now available online. Enjoy and please leave a comment if you've enjoyed it or simply hate it.

This time we reflect on a few blog posts from me and Sarah's personal blogs. And I attempt to do a short introducation to the semantic web and tagging vs categories.

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Tagging which way? How about my way?

Story telling fest

Looking though my to read at somepoint in the future tagged catagory in Great News I found this useful summary of the problem with tagging online at the moment. Tag formats: Can’t we all just get along? covers the main tagging applications online and shows the confusion between spaced keywords and the comma seperated method.

So where do I fall on this issue? Well although I use Flickr and Del.icio.us almost everyday, I think they could both do benefit from using commas to seperate tags. All the latest services which I've used which support tagging have used commas because they make a lot more sense. As Victor says in the comments,

commas are faster than quotes.

as i see it (in my own experience) tags can be annoying if you don’t really care about them when you have to enter them. Usually you care about them later on, when you cannot find what you’re looking for. but they’re still a(nother) time-consuming task.

i’d use fast, thus i’d use commas.

The only thing which puts me off commas is the language issue, which is that some languages use commas for other things. There was a suggestion to use semicolon but I feel that would go down like a listening to your ipod in a church service. Other solutions which I've seen around the web include autosensing spaces or commas and the Amazon box model type thing. Which I personally think sucks because it takes too long to fill them in. I wonder why no ones written a greasemonkey script to allow people to pick a method which will be translated across all tagging services. So I can type commas into Flickr and it just translates it into spaces for me. Yeah its very lazyweb stuff. But as FataL points out, this can't be that hard.

Computer now smart enough to parse them all:
south asia, africa = [south asia] [africa]
“south asia” africa = [south asia] [africa]
‘south asia’ africa = [south asia] [africa]
(south asia) africa = [south asia] [africa]
south asia – africa = [south asia] [africa]
It’s not so hard to program all this I believe.

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