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Online social tagging is not about sharing

Aug 2005

A landmark study from the HP research department finds that social bookmarking is less about sharing than we thought. A large portion of the tags on del.icio.us used by the study group to describe documents on the web were self-referencing (ie mycomments) or for self-organising purposes (ie toread). As an example, in the last 15 days, over 30,000 links had no tags in them, suggesting that they were less for sharing than for self-tracking. But this was not a study of motives, but rather of finding out how links were used and how they were being described. Probably the next step is to distribute a qualitative survey via del.icio.us to its users, asking for information to provide insights into motives of tagging.

One Comment

  1. # Terry Leach on August 21st, 2005

    I use del.icio.us heavily of course I know it is less about sharing than self self-referencing. If the tag isn’t self-referencing in an obvious way it is a self-reference anyway, because I organize tag tags for later reference according to need to retrieve the information in an category that is obvious to me. My willingness to participate is the sharing. When using Del.icio.us and other social tagging applications we are all librians tagging the world’s content that interest us individually, we can then find people of similar interest that we may not have otherwise known. What I find interesting is what I can learning about this beehive of knowledge and the people interest in tagging pieces of the knowledge tree. The mass market is dead. Online social tagging will lead to mass customization, because it creates the ability to group together people of similar interest.

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