It’s one of the ‘why do you do this blogging thing?’ answers. I love making stuff and I love the stuff I’m making. The notion of creating, gives me a great personal sense of achievement. A satisfaction. Creating and publishing words and photos, still gives me a buzz. Filtering into categories and tagging things, linking things up and referencing things, is more about the piece – www.dragondrop.org – as a whole.
I don’t know anyone else who’s documented as much of their life for the past 10+ years and I have, bar Phil (a relative on Eirene’s side who’s just created an awesome family history). One of the main reasons behind why I do it is the love of the thing I’ve created. I want to put them on display. All my little trinkets on a trinket shelf. It’s the oddest of life asset. When people talk about something that happened, it’s usually “do you remember that time when we were in such and such a place and such and such a thing happened..” I can often reply with, yes – and refer back to often quite a detailed account. I keep looking at content and seeing different ways I could slice it and dice it – for instance, there is a split between posts that are more on the me/introversion side of life and others that are more on a them/observational style. I think I’ll stick with what I’ve got for the time being.
The structuring part is more of a recent pursuit for me (I say recent, I probably started ‘bagging and tagging’ around 2006). Adding useful peripheral meta data to my content, giving me the ability to reference and find things. Before, the only peripheral data for my content was it’s date. In the early days, I didn’t even add a title (as I was using the original ‘blogger’ system, which didn’t even have a title field)
Adding meta data – things like tags and extra bits of info to content is what helps shape the internet. It’s something that I’ve frequently done, more so, on my flickr content. Photos like this shot of a fry up that I shot in March, ’08 for example, (my most popular photo ever on Flickr – thanks mainly to Flickr using it as the lead image for a blog piece) is tagged and bagged, to the max. It’s helped others find it. People can look at the tag ‘fryup‘ and they have a good chance of finding my photo, along with thousands of other photos tagged fryup. Pooling things together is often fascinating.
So much extra data can, and is stored with content these days. Typically, a digital camera will ‘stamp’ information such as time, shutter speed, f-stop and more inside the data of the photo (called eXif data). Modern mid to high end cameras now stamp gps data in the form of latitude and longitude so you can automatically add your photos to a map.
Putting all this extra effort in is often an invisable task, but it means that I’ve defined connections between a lot of my content, which builds up a new picture, over time. For instance, If I wanted to see pictures of my daughter Sophie, I could search for all photos I’ve uploaded to Flickr tagged “Sophie”. I can do the same for Felix and Jaygo.
Where Flickr has the concept of ‘collections’, ‘sets’ and ‘tags’, instagram, and twitter just have tags. WordPress (which runs DragonDrop.org) has the notion of ‘categories’ and ‘tags’.
I tend to think of categories as the main, re-occurring themes. The most important of these, I’ve added as links, across the top of the page so that one can quickly dive into that theme. I see the tags, as peripheral information that I may want to cross reference against at some point. For instance, I’ve got a category called ‘Family‘. I add to this, all articles which fall into that subject matter to. I’ve got a tag of Harrogate, which I tag content content with, when it’s had something to do with.. you guessed it.. Harrogate.
So, I’ve just created a new category – art. The content in it isn’t new, but the content of it has never before been grouped as a single entity before. I like the way it gives something an identity and character, when you group it.
Part of the addictive nature of being the curator of a big ol’ blog like this is its information architecture. Information is beautiful.
The title, by the way, came from my mate osysmyso, who said his mate had said it. I’m going to ask him if he remembers. (If you do, can you comment please?)