Saturday, May 19, 2007

Tagging in the Blogosphere, Wikipedia, and Being There (Online)

SUMMARY: Nothing about dogs at all. A scholarly post with many related scholarly links and scholarly footnotes, too.

Until last week, I had never encountered the term "tagging" in the blogosphere. (Or, if I had, I ignored it.) Not that I spend much time Out There, really; just follow a very few agility blogs and a very few friends' blogs. So I'm not up on all the latest fads in larger parts of the blogiverse such as MySpace--which, if Blogger (my blog service) were the size of a pea, MySpace would be roughly the size of a rutabaga if the rutabaga were the size of, say, the erstwhile USSR. (See a map showing comparative sizes; generated from satellite photos, as I understand it.)

So, in the last week, a sometimes-agility blog that I've been watching said that she had been tagged to list the "top seven songs that stick in my head and won't leave." Huh, thought I, "tagged," huh, don't know what that's all about but I think I'm glad I don't have any of those crazed kinds of internet friends who actually interact with one another(**) (because believe me I already have more things to blog about(see following illustration) than anyone could possibly care about even if I paid them (1) ).

(Comic from xkcd.com.)

Then I got a comment from a semicommercial agility site--someone who's partway between being a legitimate blogger (meaning someone who, like me, blathers on about stuff that only a limited portion of the population(2) could care about) and a commercial site (meaning someone who has found a clever way to make money out of their blogaholism which I greatly resent (2a))--saying that he had tagged me. So I went there to find out what that meant. It meant that he has listed Taj MuttHall in a list of links of agility bloggers. Huh, thought I, don't know what that's all about, but, um, OK, I guess...(3)

Now--fool that I am, I created an account for myself on MySpace just so that I could --ah--interact with my sister-out-law(4) (she says that harassing users is strictly against MySpace rules, so I guess that's right out and I must simply "interact"). Well, now she has "tagged" me to "post 5 weird things about myself" and then, apparently, "tag" 5 more people to do the same.(5)


A noted scholarly expert on fudgsicles.(5a)
Anyway, Huh, thought I, what the fudgesicle? Could this be a legitimate, hip, with-it, cool, rad, happenin' blogification thing that I really need to immerse myself into and torture my nearest and dearest with? So I headed off to wikipedia to research it.

Sadly, poor, outdated Wikipedia had NOTHING about blog tagging at all! I had to actually google stuff to find ANYTHING on the subject. It turns out that there are two or maybe three kinds of "tagging":
  • Categorizing your web pages with labels--like this blog (and others under Blogger) have been doing for a few months now. Although there is in fact a difference between categorizing and tagging, as you can read here.
  • Interlinking related web sites by posting links on your site to other related sites. Like I have done by posting links to other agility-related blogs. You can read more about these first couple sort of relate kinds of tagging, tag clouds, instant hierarchies, and so on, here.
  • This third, dangerous, subversive, time-consuming(6) kind of tagging, about which I can find no definitive source. However, depending on which of thousands of blogs I look at, it means (a) list 7 little-known things about yourself and tag 7 more suckers--er, friends, (b) list 6 weird things about yourself and tag 6 more suckers, (c) list 5 favorite books and tag 5 more friends, (d) list 8 ways to [censored censored censored] and tag 8 of your [censored] to do the same (huh--with a rutabaga?) ... blah blah. And everyone just seems to know that this is what it means, at least in their own blogspace.

Where did it start? Why? By whom? And how do I kill them in a pleasingly agonizing way? Perhaps I'll have to look more into this fire-maggots-down-the-pantaloons thing.

My scholarly source for everything I know about fire maggots, Captain Jack T. Ripper (circa 1986; time has mellowed him but not the parrot, whom you really don't want to meet alone in a dark alley, especially if you're carrying crackers (7)).

Coming soon, my next post: Ha! You've been tagged! 57 endearments you've actually used in public for your dog, and tag 57 of your closest friends to do the same!(8)

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(**) Because, you know, the internet is all about sharing your innermost secrets in total isolation from the rest of the world, not about developing any actual, say, human interrelationships. You could all be bots, for all I know, automatically generating emails or comments on my blogs based on empirical recognition of some agility or web meme.

(1) I mean, more than I'm currently paying.

(2) Nobody.

(2a) ...because I haven't come up with a clever way that I could be happy with to make money from MY blog.

(3) OK, I'll give you that link, too, because there's also useful and noncommercial info, but you've been forewarned(3a) that this site runs some ads and some links to products to purchase.

(3a) As opposed to aftwarned, I suppose.

(4) You think I'm making this up?

(5) I'll give you her link but Fair Warning--(a)most of her posts are private, including the tagging post, and (b) there are so many ads and videos & music & things on MySpace and/or her site there that it often freezes my browser.

(5a) My dad. Heh heh heh. (Circa 1997.)

(6) Time-consuming! Yes! Look how long it has taken me to research the topic, read all the pages and blogs that came up--for research purposes, of course--find all the appropriate places for this post to link to in all the correct humorous (of course I meant scholarly) spots, write this post, repeatedly restart my browser after myspace froze it, assemble a dish of peppermintstick ice cream with chocolate sprinkles to assuage my scholarly frustration, and so on.

(7) OK, I have descended pretty much totally into random chaotic neuron firings.

(8) Because there ARE no weird things about me, let alone SIX of them. My whole life has been completely normal.

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