Thursday, October 25, 2007

Categories Don't Mean Anything

A great new video is flying around the Interwebs, by Michael Wesch:

It's all about tagging now.

The other day, I was asked by a coworker to explain the difference between categories and tags. After trying to explain it for a couple minutes, the ultimate conclusion from the coworker was that a category and tag are essentially the same. That's really not true. The best way I can describe a tag versus a category is:

A Tag:

  • Describes a piece of information

  • Doesn't classify a piece of information

A Category:

  • Also describes a piece of information

  • Places information into a particular classification.

It seems to me that categories are obsolete in today's environment. Even for this blog post, I'm given the option by WordPress to categorize AS WELL as tag the post based on the topic of my discussion. My vote is that we get rid of categories. We really don't need them anymore, right?

Duncan Riley at the TechCrunch blog says that information has been devolving for the past 12 years. I disagree. It seems to me that information has needed to become less categorized due to the way we're able to access information now using search, etc. If we're able to find the information that we're seeking more quickly and with a higher success rate, isn't this an improvement? Why does he call it a devolution?

By the way, if you haven't seen Wesch's other famous video, you can view it below:

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