Just like there are professional bloggers i am pretty sure some parties will emerge that get paid for their abilities.
Like Seth Godin talking about “myware” rather than “spyware”. then he has a community to help nail the concept and distribute it. Talking of Seth, he is also putting forward an architecture useful for tag-gardening called Squidoo. People can be tags and tagged too.
I have a concept I am playing with called Declarative Living. Here are associated items in del.icio.us which should allow for ostensive definition. These tagged items are examples of what I call declarative living, which share a family resemblance. I am not worried about defining the “essence” of declarative living. Here is a squidoo lens about same.
Squidoo evidently has some utility in tag gardening. Danny Ayers is a hardcore RDF guy, and I have dinged him in the past. So I was chuffed when I came across this… the declarative living tag is putting down some threadlike roots. Now I need to keep tending the tag.
It may be that Danny just came across the term on Alex Barnetts’ blog. Alex is helping to define the future of preference sharing through his manic focus on OPML and SSE (he is seriously prolific). I wish I could persuade Alex to start using declarative living though.
But anyway, back to the subject in hand, which I tag, unsurprisingly, as tag_gardening.
Are industry analysts tag gardeners? Tag gardening is certainly a role Gartner plays. Enterprise IT vendors pay Gartner to use its tags, and to show how well they fit the way Gartner uses these tags.
A key platform for tag gardening is Yahoo, which has recently acquired pretty many of the key players in declarative living – delicious, flickr, WebJay. Yahoo is buying communities of taggers, some of whom are tag gardeners. A great example are communities on flickr, which coalesce around tags and create communities in the process. Yahoo now offers a number of platforms for tagging, and therefore tag management, or tag gardening.
The thing about communities is that they can be turned into money.
Talking about communities and money I would argue “Web 2.0” and “AJAX” are probably last years most important and obvious tags.
Yes they are “just tags”. But tags create behaviours. I am not going into the Web 2.0 means nothing discussion because it self-evidently does mean something, otherwise tens of thousands of people wouldnt be using the term.
And they can be turned into money. Tim O’Reilly is Web 2.0’s head tag gardener, and makes money running conferences about it, while Jesse James Garrett is now one of the industry’s hottest tickets, at least partly because he found a simple compelling way to describe a new design pattern-namely AJAX.
The real groundwork for this slightly left-field post comes from the people that actually came up with stuff. David Weinberger is the obvious touchstone here. What is the value of tags? How else can I go and find “gay art“? That is not exactly a Gartner taxonomy now, is it? Clay Shirky also fights the good fight. Of course Jon Udell has some relevant thoughts.
So far the tag gardening revolution has been in kind. We don’t pay delicious for its service, but it doesn’t pay us for tagging the world either. Who will be the stars of delicious? Maybe people like the slacker manager. Here is Steve Rubel on technorati, another tag aggregation and subscription service.
Hiearchies continue to break down. Amateurs become professionals and professionals become amateur. Tags become more and more useful. Somebody is going to get paid. That somebody will be a professional tag gardener. Tag gardeners are experts in aggregation, and have a great ear for language.
Finally I should say a few words about tag gardening and the industry analyst business. When we set up RedMonk we were determined to not be in the business of creating terms for stuff that nobody would ever use. We figured Gartner was the acronym company and we would look for industry standard language use in our analysis. Compliance Oriented Architecture was an opportunistic example, an exception to the rule. Some examples of terms we don’t like and therefore avoid – “applistructure” is a weed I would happily rip out of the ground.
I have increasingly realised that none of us can opt out of language and tag creation, or emergent semantics. We’re taking part in a conversation here, finding ways to describe problems and fixes. Language drives behaviour.
Tag gardening is going to be used to improve the process of filing a patent in the US.That’s potentially a big step forward in 2006.
If you are one of those engineer types that thinks in binary and doesn’t like the idea that language shapes the world, that argue speciously that only marketers come up with new langauge so be it, you probably haven’t got this far into a long riff anyway. “But Web 2.0 doesn’t mean anything”. Where do you think new most language comes from, though? Science. Please read this if you don’t agree. Take a “quantum leap” and think about it. No marketer would come up with the term attenuation.
You can’t have a shift in how people live and work without language changes and concepts rarely map one to one to things in a one to one relationship. That is why we need tag gardeners… And that is why RedMonk will adopt some terms, encourage others, and just occasionally, see if one of our own picks up some snow and starts rolling downhill. That is how language, culture and technology evolve.