Okay for ages I thought tagging had something to do with the spray-paint graffiti you see on the sides of inner-city buildings. Well maybe I wasn't wrong to assume that, but in the tech sphere tagging means something completely different.
Part of this hyped "Web 2.0" thing we all hear so much about these days, tagging is another one of those terms that's sometimes a little tricky to decipher.
According to Wikipedia, a tag is: "a keyword or term used to classify content by means of a folksonomy (freely chosen keywords). Tags are usually chosen informally and personally by the author/creator of the item."
Okay so tagging then involves a website creator or blogger classifying content on his or her website or blog. Rather than being formally defining a classification scheme, the tags a content author chooses is up to their own personal discretion. Thanks to the fact that tags are a dynamic and flexible system of classification of computer files, web sites, images and blogs, "tagging" has become associated with Web 2.0.
For example, visit www.technorati.com. On the right hand side of the page, there's a heading that reads "what people are writing about". Under the heading are a bunch of words including: Advertising, Bush, China, Microsoft and more. These are tags signifying the types of content on the site. By clicking on any of these tags, you're brought to an index page that lists all the pages within the site which have been associated to a given tag term, say China. As human readers we can easily tell the purpose of the page by quickly find the specific information we're looking for by simply referring to the list of tag words.
Is it starting to make sense? Perhaps. But why bother putting a tag on your website or blog? As an item (website/blog) typically has more than one "tag" associated to it, this creates "browseable paths" through which visitors can quickly and easily find further content or information with minimal effort. Plus, a blogger can attract more attention to his or her site by adding commonly used tag words.