Yesterday the Students of SJSU Technology and Emerging Media Club (STEM) met and Andrew Venegas gave an interesting talk about tagging. Listening to his talk reminded me of my own experiences with tagging on my blog.
During the first STEM meeting, earlier this semester, we all decided that we should tag any posts about the club to allow readers to quickly get a list of posts related to the club happenings. On WordPress, there is built in tagging called categories that works nicely, but I didn’t want to add a new category for every specific thing that I wanted to tag. I wanted the categories to be more of a general table of contents and to have separate tags for more specific topics.
I read this post, Tags and Tagging in WordPress, on the Lorelle on WordPress blog. The article gave me a clearer idea of what tags are and how they can be used. I ended up using site search tags as suggested in the article. If you click one of my tags at the bottom of my post it has the same effect as doing a search in the search box for that term. You will be directed to a list of posts from my blog that mention the term in the tag. All of the posts that have that same tag will be listed as will any article that mentions the term anywhere in the article. This is different than the tags that Andrew mentioned in his talk that direct the reader to Technorati. Those tags would list blog posts from any blog that Technorati somehow deemed relevant to that tag. My tags only list my blog posts, which I think is more useful.
As a user of tags, if I am reading an article that I find interesting, I might click on of the tags listed with that article to find more relevant information. Often times, those tags will lead to nothing, which is frustrating to me and is useless from my point of view. So I try to have only a few tags that will lead to lots of related material. To help with this I keep a list of the tags I have used in the past and try to reuse those if they are relevant.