Thing 10: Tagging

As I look at the tag cloud right now, which sits nicely in the upper left hand corner of this very blog, there are three phrases which are biggest, indicating they are the most used:

-terrible people

Two of those are kind of redundant, I guess, but it’s terrible people that surprised me. Clicking on it, I realized I used that tag both for talking about Facebook execs and for for Andrew Wakefield. Well, that makes sense. And since I have fewer than a dozen posts, something used twice would be biggest. As the blog grows, those words will probably shrink to medium size as other stuff comes along. (Comics will probably stay big. I work comics into my blog posts as often as possible.)

I stopped using back when it was, well,, and I can’t even remember why. Since then my biggest tagging experiences have been when I finally broke down and started using them on my personal journal. Livejournal had just added the feature a couple months ago, and it helps if I’m trying to find a link, story, or conversation that happened more than three weeks ago. My sense of time is vague at best. It’s way better to click through a list of concepts like “university”, “family”, “writing”, “awkward turtle” than trying to remember if that thing that happened a month to three months ago was on a Thursday? Maybe? Or a Friday? Something ending in day.

I’ve got 108 tags on that journal now, and while it sounds out of control, about 3/4 of them are for writing. I found that if I tagged stories I wrote with the genre and all the characters, I could go back later and search by character to see how much I’d written on somebody and what was missing. Excellent.

What I really admire, though, is a community called ONTD_Political. The name comes from an earlier community called Oh No They Didn’t, or ONTD for short, which posts tabloid-like stories about celebrities. ONTD_Political isn’t completely the same in that it’s not scandal-based, but rather globally focused and concentrates on, well, everything.

How do they organize it all, you ask? By tagging religiously. There are, at current count, 1,097 tags that the poster can employ, often using several at a time for one news article. Immigration has 133 uses. The RNC has 32. Zimbabwe has 19.

And this is a community where I have seen some hardcore tag enthusiasts. A recent Malawi couple’s story became the source for a lot of empathy and sadness, but also lividness as the community commented that not only was the general media misidentifying a transgendered woman as a gay man, but that ONTD_P itself was . Who knew internet tagging could get so political?

Signing out, and double-checking my tags before I publish.

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Blog Post 2: Microblogging

So, this Twitter thing.

I’m coming up on 1k tweets on my personal Twitter account – something I made back in the beginning of college, used for a few weeks, and recently returned to (first for one of Professor Whalen‘s classes, then for personal use. And you can tell that it’s an important daily tool because in one of my recent tweets I wondered aloud why I was drinking so much orange juice lately.

I’ll give you a moment to allow that philosophical depth to sink in.)

Mind you, there are people that are employing Twitter much more impressively than I am. What is important to remember about the site is that it’s a medium – no more, no less. You can have incredibly banal people reporting what traffic is like, or you can have stuff that’s really funny, or really important, or maybe both.

For funny, we turn to Drunk Hulk.

Drunk Hulk is an example of a fictional (and in this case inebriated) character who has a regularly-updated blog. Drunk Hulk reacts to the news of the day and often comments on pop culture and fashion…
…and sometimes on more pressing matters:

That’s not to say that all of Twitter is just for fun. The social networking capabilities of this site are huge, and this hasn’t gone unnoticed by major interest groups. Quick searches of hashtags and commonly used words reveals lots of useful Twitter groups as well. GLBTadvocates is exactly what it says on the tin – they update regularly with news about discrimination in legislation, Focus on the Family, and reliable charities to donate to promote marriage equality. OnTopMag is another good example. It focuses not just on US issues but also links to international articles as well including linking to stories taking place Portugal, Argentina and Brazil.

Twitter is everything. It’s social networking, it’s keeping in touch with family, it’s common interests, it’s advocacy… but perhaps most importantly, it is drunken superheroes.

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