E L S U A ~ A KM Blog by Luis Suarez

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[e2.0] Bottom-up All The Way Down: How Tags Help Businesses Organize by Thomas Vander Wal

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Today I am actually going to take a short break from the various reviews around the topic of the different elective sessions I recently attended at the APQC KM & Innovation event in Houston, and instead talk about one particular, and very helpful, resource I bumped into earlier on today which I think would be very very helpful for those folks who may be new to the subject. It all came to me after reading a number of different weblog entries related to the Enterprise 2.0 conference that finished earlier on this afternoon.

I bumped into it originally in one of the twitterings from Thomas Vander Wal where he actually shared the link to the presentation materials that he has used earlier on today for an elective session with the title Bottom-up All The Way Down: How Tags Help Businesses Organize. You can already check it out over at Slideshare and if you would want to have a peek into what the talk was about here is an excerpt taken from the conference agenda:

"Tagging has become one of the most recognizable motifs in web 2.0 social applications. Allowing all participants in social spaces — blogs, social networks, web 2.0 applications — to annotate bits of information with individually defined metadata is an acceptance of the value of collective intelligence, on one hand, and on the value to the individual of an individually ordered world. Will tagging work in the enterprise? Can individual employees — as a group — do a better job of organizing information through tags than IT?"

I must say that when I looked into the slide deck in Slideshare I thought that it would be a rather long presentation, since it contains 82 slides. However, when I took a few minutes to go through and digest the content, it is actually a lovely breeze to go through it. Yes, indeed, this is one of those different presentations that you know will be very informative and educational for everyone interested in the topic of tagging and folksonomies, not just from a Web 2.0 perspective, but much more interestingly from an Enterprise 2.0 perspective.

Yes, that is right, with that particular presentation, Thomas attempts (And succeeds tremendously!) to introduce the topic of tagging behind the firewall going through some very key basic overview of what tagging and folksonomy are, as concepts, and then introduces the comparison between taxonomy and folksonomy, which after going through it I have found it quite fascinating and very revealing for those folks out there who still question the value of tagging within the enterprise.

From there onwards Thomas gets to provide a good outline of the different business benefits from using tags within the corporation in order to empower knowledge workers to successfully tag the content they bump into as they go along. He even ventured into explaining some of the different reasons as to why people tag (See slide 37), which I have found very interesting because they surely match most of my own reasons on why I keep tagging almost everything!

However, what I have found very inspiring and perhaps somewhat controversial, specially since most folks out there may not be familiar with it, is the powerful connotations that social tagging has got within whatever business. Thomas describes this in a very simple, yet very effective manner, concluding with a number of concrete different examples of social tagging tools. And from there onwards, he actually touches base on a number of those different social tagging tools and how they operate by sharing a number of different screen shots. I would have loved to have attended his session for this particular bit as I am sure that I would have learned quite a few tricks on effective methods for tagging. Perhaps at some other time.

What I can certainly say though is that those folks, who are looking for a comprehensive, easy to digest, straight to the point, with no fuss presentation, and providing some rock solid conclusions on the topic of tagging and folksonomy behind the firewall, should certainly check the slide deck themselves. Because I am sure that they would find it relevant enough for them, and positively encouraging for everyone, on why tagging resources (And people, why not?) is worth while regarding the size of the business that is trying to implement them. I can certainly recommend this presentation and on top of it you also have got the chance to download the slide deck and share it with your colleagues. Just brilliant!

Thanks ever so much, Thomas, for sharing the presentation in Slideshare with us all and for giving us the opportunity to get a glimpse of some of the really high quality  materials seeing over at the Enterprise 2.0 conference. Excellent stuff!

(It was also a great pleasure catching up with you just before you headed to the event and look forward to the next round of conversations!)

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