Others have written about this subject compellingly, but I have just recently seen the light on tagging. I even added them to this blog!
Tags are an increasingly popular and increasingly effective way to organize and find information online. Last weekend, Technorati was a crucial part of promoting and documenting the Live 8 concerts. Anyone blogging the concerts (including those with a critical eye) could tag them ‘Live8‘ or ‘Live8 Philly‘ and have their entries located by people around the world.
Technorati is a centralized reference point for tags in blogs. Here’s a recent article about Technorati’s growth in comparison to popular RSS aggregators. Tags are currently used to classify not just blog posts, but also photos (Flickr.com), links (del.icio.us), and other objects. If you are blogging, you may be able to get a plugin that will facilitate tagging your posts.
With the sheer amount of information online growing exponentially, tags are becoming an important tool to find relevant information – especially for bloggers. Bloggers are inclined to use tags for two reasons: 1. Other bloggers do it, and 2. they value the idea of contributing to a collective folksonomy. So tags can be a great way to encourage blogging about your issues.
For example, the ACLU and civil libertarians might want to promote use of the tag ‘safeandfree’ to aggregate posts about reforming the patriot act. Some in the nonprofit sector are currently using the tag ‘nptech‘ to collect technology resources that can be useful to our colleagues. This one tag can be used across platforms to aggregate links, photos, blog posts, etc.
To get started, just pick a tag that can be used by your organization or issue, start using it yourself, and let your supporters know about it. Be sure to use something that will be unique but memorable. For example ‘kids‘ is too vague, but ‘healthykids’ is better – it’s less likely to get used randomly by people who don’t share your goals, and it’s not being used at all yet so you can really ‘own’ it. Once your supporters start using it, you can point people to that collection of things tagged ‘healthykids’ and amplify voices reflecting your whole movement instead of just your single organization.