Folksonomic Density and the Tagosphere: Designing Social Media for Deep Cross-Service Self-Referencing

“Folksonomy” is a recently-coined term that tries to describe the “embrace the chaos” model of tagging that I’m describing here. Most social networking sites now include some form of tagging and it’s safe to say that few of the users are formally trained in library sciences. The tags they create are idiosyncratic, ambiguous and dangerously democratic. These are the categories of the people: a December 2006 report by the Pew Internet & American Life Project estimates that 28% of American Internet users have used the Internet to tag content ( It reports that “on a typical day online, 7% of Internet users say they tag or categorize online content.” Network effects quickly come into play to create what we might call a “tagosphere,” a layer of user-generated meta-commentary about the Web.

Just a few years ago much of the Internet was created by professionals. It often took knowledge of servers and HTML to add content to the Web. With blogs, social networking sites and photo and video sharing services just about anyone who can use a computer (and has access) can add content in a multiplicity of media with little technical know-how.

The Semantic Web Versus Folksonomic Density

The so-called “Semantic Web” is the latest attempt to pull order into the anarchy of social web sites. It proposes adding a layer of machine-readable data to web pages, ...

Get Web 2.0 Mash-ups and the New Aggregators now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.