Dave Sifry, CEO of Technorati writes,Tags are a simple, yet powerful, social software innovation. Today millions of people are freely and openly assigning metadata to content and conversations. Unlike rigid taxonomy schemes that people dislike, the ease of tagging for personal organization with social incentives leads to a rich and discoverable folksonomy. Intelligence is provided by real people from the bottom-up to aid social discovery. And with the right tag search and navigation, folksonomy outperforms more structured approches to classification, as Clay Shirky points out:
"This is something the ‘well-designed metadata’ crowd has never understood – just because it’s better to have well-designed metadata along one axis does not mean that it is better along all axes, and the axis of cost, in particular, will trump any other advantage as it grows larger. And the cost of tagging large systems rigorously is crippling, so fantasies of using controlled metadata in environments like Flickr are really fantasies of users suddenly deciding to become disciples of information architecture".
Technorati now supports Tag Search across leading Social software sites. Users can now search across user-generated tags and categories (for example "tsunami") across major weblog platforms like Blogger or Typepad, photoshare in Flickr, social bookmark in del.icio.us, and Socialtext wikis. By bridging islands of text, images, and social networks through the words they use, users are making the world live web even smaller. Meta keywords were only meant for search engines; they had no transparency, and no community. They were useful back when the web was a collection of pages, instead of a living place. Besides using technical methods to curb tag spam (like clustering), the implicit social network represented in Technorati's link-based authority and other techniques based on the intelligence provided by people offers alternatives. Content and metadata always had problems with people - with exploding content, this elegant solution should be found to bevery useful and indeed timely.