There has been a post brewing in my brain for quite a while now about tags and tagging and tapping into the social power of folksonomies. Like podcasting, the whole tagging thing is not something I’ve been able to fully embrace, partially because it just leads me to that information overload part of my brain. I’ve tried adding Technorati tags here, but, obviously, it hasn’t caught on. Aside from the occasional conference tag, I’ve never felt like what I’ve subscribed to tag-wise at Technorati or del.icio.us has been all that helpful. It’s either too divergent or too overwhelming to get through. And there’s always been the spam issue, which I’ve started to see more and more. It seems that it’s getting almost impossible to escape.
Where I have had more success, at least in managing the flow, is in subscribing to trusted sources, people like Alan Levine, Jim Wenzloff, or Amy Garhan (to name a few), and even then maybe just specific tags from those folks. Here too, however, I bump up against the time to read and information overload issues. Ten feeds of this type are about my max, and it takes time to select them in the first place. But bottom line is that I get much more relevant stuff by subscribing to the person as opposed to the tag (unless of course it’s the person’s tag…oy.)
Taking this all just a step further, I will say that I’m finding tagging my own bookmarks for my own purposes to be pretty effective as well. I spent much of the last couple of days going through my Bloglines “keep as new” posts (over 100 again) and bookmarking them into my Jots account. There, I’m really starting to see a “willsonomy” develop, one that I find is easier to store and retrieve stuff with. (Of course, I’ve backed all of this up by subscribing to my Jots feed (along with seven other hearty souls) on Bloglines just they’re backed up. Welcome to my life…)
Just from this post you can see the potential for total brain collapse. And that’s even more of a reason we need to think all of this through and provide options for our students and teachers. We are all going to find our own unique solutions. Bottom line for me is balancing my desire for relevant information about the topics I’m interested in with the time I have to put into creating systems to bring that information to me. But the key shift is that at least I can do that…I can tap into the efforts of any number of experts, mentors or kindered souls out there who are searching for the good stuff just like I am.