By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Tag (or don’t tag) this

I’ve got a question for the more technically oriented members of Media Nation’s readership. Ever since I switched to Blogger 2.0, I’ve been attaching “labels” — what most folks call “tags” — to my posts.

But I’ve got to tell you, I’m not sure why. After all, you can already search Media Nation for anything that might be buried within a post. What do tags add?

From what I’ve seen, tags are great within a community of other users. For instance, go to Flickr, search for photos that have been tagged “northeasternuniversity,” and you’ll find 710 photos taken by a number of different people. If readers could use my tags to find other blogs using the same tags, that would be great. But I don’t think that’s the case.

WordPress lets you stack up your tags in “Categories,” as Seth Gitell has done, and which also makes sense. (Seth is also considerably more disciplined than Media Nation in separating his posts into broad categories.)

So what about it? Am I missing something? Or is Blogger’s tagging feature just too lame to be bothered with?

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A lot more than inconvenient


Rooney and Severin


  1. UUpdater

    The labels can be used in a number of different ways. With the upgraded blogger template you can add something to show all the labels you have used and the number of posts associated with each label. People can always search for a term, but they may not guess the terms you used. This way they get a list of everything you have used.The labels are included with a post in the RSS feed so in theory an aggregator could collect all the labels (terms in the RSS feed itself) and show what labels and terms (tags from other blogs) are associated with all the aggregated blogs. Filtering on the aggregated terms would allow something similar for blog posts as you describe for flicker.The labels can be used to form a url so others can link to appropriately labeled posts. This is better than the search because “blogger” returns posts not labeled as blogger, but labeling does not.And of course there is always the case for setting them up now so when they do implement some cool feature to take advantage of them you already have everything set up and ready to use the new cool features.

  2. Chuck Tanowitz

    In some ways it also helps you organize and/or track your general writing. That is, if you tag haphazardly (as I do) you can look back over time and see where you put most of your effort. But there are added benefits, like in Technorati. I will sometime subscribe to a “tag” because I get too much information if I do a broader search. It helps me break down information a little better.

  3. Peter Porcupine

    I too use Technocrati tags, mainly so my stuff gets pulled up on Google and other search engines; for example, I wrote about the cancer drug Immther in May of 2005, tagged it, and it still get a hit once a week!I don’t like having the tags at the bottom, though. I embed them in the test. Does New Blogger allow that? (I reamain in old Blogger until I hear you are happy, but I did create a blog for a friend using the new system and it seemed to work well).

  4. Dan Kennedy

    PP: Actually, that’s pretty interesting. As I said, I don’t really see the purpose of tagging without sharing. I guess you would do this by hand? You say you don’t like to do them at the end of your posts, but I think that’s what I’d like to do. I assume I would do it like this:Technorati tags: media, Boston GlobeAnd the URL for “media,” for instance, would be that right?Totally aside from that, I’ve noticed I’m getting better results from Google Blogsearch than from Technorati. Any idea why?

  5. Peter Porcupine

    Have you ‘claimed’ your blog on Technorati? Also, do you use Pingoat?

  6. Dan Kennedy

    PP: I’m such a moron. The answers are (1) no and (2) what’s Pingoat?

  7. Dan Kennedy

    OK, I just looked. Now I know what Pingoat is.

  8. Peter Porcupine

    That’s why I asked. By claimig the blog, you may see more hits from Technorati – sort of like registering to make comments.But – I had a friend complaining that the Technorati Pingoat ping was being passed over in favor of the ping from the Technorati page. I wondered if you were pinging Technorati with Pingoat as well.I find Pingoat very handy, myself, and I’ve noticed that I get many more spiders crawling for content since I began using it, which means my pieces turn up in more searches.(it’s just like an onion, isn’t it – ever another level of proficiency to master lurking beneath the surface…)

  9. Lynne

    Unsolicited opinion? Blogger’s too lame to be bothered with. As a (somewhat) up to date web person, I can’t recommend WordPress enough. Every plugin you’ll ever need for anything is pretty much there. Even my hopes for a scoop-like blog (going to a community format) might rest on tweaking WordPress rather than switching to something else. If you ever want help switching formats, I’d be happy to guide you.

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