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Tue Jun 19, 2007 8:08 pm
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The concept of categories is old – we have used it as folders to organize files in computers for a long time. However, most social websites don’t really use categories to let you organize things under your own terms. First of all, the concept of organizing content is not very common in the web 2.0 social networking world, as these websites are mostly focused on the social connection (profiles). Many sites however, let you “tag” things. Tagging is a quick and easy way to label something, without actually organizing it completely. I might for example tag this post “networking, web 2.0, organization” to explain it and let it be found through searches etc…

Tagging though, is a limiting concept, very much like a superficial name placed on something, which doesn’t give you the ability to fully catalog and organize something. That is why we were surprised as we thought of how nobody actually allows you to create categories. Categories in a sense, belong on a regular website where you might have top categories which, in case you have more content, might extend into subcategories. Well, categories are actually great we thought, they would let users create a more complete “site”, with the ability to organize anything.

Another interesting thing about categories is how it labels things even more completely than tagging. Let’s say for example, that you want to organize all your books. Now, since you can create your categories however you like, you can define your books through them. Where would you put “Wealth of Nations” by Adam Smith? Perhaps under Non Fiction -> Economics -> 18th century. This book has now been labeled in a personal, specific and expandable way. As a user can create any categorization system you begin to learn further about that person and ultimately that is what web 2.0 is supposed to be about.

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