Tag Clouds

Tag Clouds are a 'new' way to display information. Specifically, it is a visual way to depict the occurrences or popularity of a specific word. Apparently this started with Flickr, although it is now common, especially among Web 2.0 companies.

I really dislike tag clouds. OK, they aren't really offensive, but I'm a numbers guy, and I'd much rather see the information displayed in a table or graph than as a tag cloud. I don't find it really accurate or useful.

Like any good fad, they are now being applied to everything you can think of. For example, a tag cloud of presidential speeches.

1 comment:

  1. Just had a talk about this last night with a mutual friend(?). I believe folksonomies will persist as an organization structure for content shared online but am now convinced that it will not replace other categorization forms.

    I think a well thought-out hierarchical taxonomy will always offer advantages for some complex data. For example, in visiting an online grocery store, I would still expect items to be organized by group: baking, breakfast, cleaning/detergents, etc. Same thing if I am perusing a huge product manufacturer's site like Sony - I know I want to drill down into their camera section and could care less (for this visit) about their laptops.

    I think tag clouds provide an ideal way to visualize large collections of data where the method of organization is somewhat random and, more specifically, where items can be tagged to more than one topic.

    Of course they are going to be overhyped in the short term and abused as you have pointed out but I would be very surprised if they disappear in future evolutions of the web.

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