The tag cloud is dead. Long live the tag cloud.

The tag cloud is dead. Long live the tag cloud.(Grave marker for the tag cloud, where the epitaph is itself a tag cloud)
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...which ate the rat, that lived in the house that tags built.

Here's how I think it all went down:

  • I posted this cartoon about employers blocking Facebook in the workplace.
  • I thought Shel Holtz would like it for his Stop Blocking blog.
  • He did, and posted it there.
  • Beth Kanter saw the cartoon and blogged about both it and Stop Blocking.
  • So as not to draw on Shel's or my bandwidth, she posted the cartoon (which is Creative Commonsed up the wazoo, so all is kosher) to Flickr so she could link to it there, and tagged it "socialsignal".
  • We have a Flickr photostrip on the front page of this site, which randomly selects Flickr photos tagged, you guessed it, "socialsignal".

And tonight, this is what I saw (click to enlarge, and look in the lower right-hand corner):

 front page screenshot

And the circle of life continues. 

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RSS, tags & social bookmarking: building blocks for nonprofit collaboration

I'm currently at NTen's Nonprofit Technology Conference in Seattle, where I was part of a panel yesterday on "Blogging, Tagging, Flickring for the cause: New tools and new strategies." Along with Victor d'Allant of Social Edge and Ruby Sinreich, I gave a kind of crash course/overview of how nonprofits can use the latest generation of Internet tools to work more effectively.

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About this site

As you're poking around the Social Signal web site, you might notice the cluster of red words in the right-hand sidebar. This cluster is called a "tag cloud". It represents all the tags that we use on this site: the keywords that we've assigned to different pages or blog posts to indicate what each story is about.

Our tag cloud is a visual representation of the range of content on the site. The tags that appear in the biggest letters are the tags that we write about a lot (like "SocialSignal" or "SocialBookmarking"). The smaller tags (like "blogher" and "workshops") link to topics that we've only written about once or twice.

You can click on any tag to see all the stories we've written about that topic -- so the tag cloud is a handy way to navigate the site, as well as a quick picture of what we're thinking about.

We decided to use a tag cloud as one of the main ways to navigate our site because tags are so central to the kind of work we do. For many of the projects we work on -- especially web projects that build online communities by linking multiple web sites -- tags are central to how information is organized, circulated, and discovered.

We think tagging is one of the most exciting ways for people to work together online. We hope that our tag cloud will be a fun way for you to explore how tagging works as a way to organize and link information thematically. And we hope you'll use our tag cloud to learn more about tags and about tag-enabled services like social bookmarking and del.icio.us.


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Introducing Social Signal: collaboration for communities

I'm delighted to announce the launch of Social Signal. Social Signal's goal is to support online communities and distributed collaboration networks -- networks of communities that share content and relationships by using the latest generation of web tools.

Social Signal on...

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Work Smarter with Evernote

Get more out of Evernote with Alexandra Samuel's great new ebook, the first in the Harvard Business Press Work Smarter with Social Media series!

Available on Amazon, iTunes and HBR.