As most bloggers know, it’s becoming increasingly de rigeur to describe each blog entry with Technorati tags. As the site itself explains, “think of a tag as a simple category name. People can categorize their posts, photos, and links with any tag that makes sense.” For example, I might have tagged the previous entry like this:
In theory, they’re a means to describe your own content. More practically, though, they’re a way of increasing traffic from tag-savvy visitors. And you know what?
Why do I need words to describe the words I’ve already written? Why must I artificially categorize my text content?
I’ll tell you why. Technology has failed us. It’s 2005, and we still don’t have software that can read the previous entry and say something like “This is a short, critical account of two video clips. One is from an independent vlog called Rocketboom, while the other is from CNN. Darren likes them both, admiring the first one’s courage and the second one’s journalistic integrity.” [more]
Instead, we’ve got the Cro-Magnon shotgun of tags. We’ve got nouns trotting across our page like a first-year’s bad found poem. We’ve got a technology wide, wide open to tag spam, and one that rewards the tag-friendly early adopters instead of the insightful, analytical and creative.
So, guys from Technorati (and the rest of you as well), you’re trying to solve the wrong problem with your new blog finder. Go off and teach your computers how to read. Teach them how to understand what I’ve written without my having to get all post-modern.
Tags to describe things that can’t describe themselves–photos, audio, video–that’s understandable, but still a kludge. Let’s get busy teaching our computers how to differentiate this apple and this Apple.
That said, finding topical weblogs is something I’ve complained about before. This blog finder tool might help, but I don’t have much faith.
For example, I just tried to find blogs about travel. Gridskipper, probably the world’s most popular travel blog, isn’t even in the top ten. Yet my blog, which I divide into categories for my and my readers’ convenience, is at #8! Less than 4% of my entries are about travel. Geeky Traveller, my other blog that’s only about travel, isn’t in the top 200. This guy (I picked him at random), has all of four entries on travel, and he’s at #172.
Maybe, instead of rolling out new tag-related features (no doubt in an attempt to direct attention away from their lousy service), we ought to be focusing on the bigger problems. If we solve those in two or three years, everybody’s tagged-up blog entries are going to look pretty goofy.