At Seattle Mind Camp yesterday, Michael Blay Michael Blay, Geoff Froh and I ran a session on the topic of behind-the-firewall tagging.

We kicked off by posing questions and letting a free flowing discussion kick off. It was great, lots of interest in the topic.

Dave Winer attended and described the session as a 'intense lightning-fast discussion'. However, he came to the early conclusion as part of that discssion that there was no conclusion - that is a waste of time to try and encourage employees to adopt a tagging culture to share knowledge inside corporate firewall. That users either get it or they don't. You can't force them.

I think Dave missed the point of the excercise. I wasn't there to try and figure out how Microsoft employees could start tagging internal resouces so I could subscribe to certain tag RSS feeds (although I would if I could), I was there to think through the challenges of that problem domain with smart geeks because the topc interests me. The discussion as nothing to do with my day job. In fact most of the people in the room were simply interested in the topic and aren't going to give it much thought the next day. That's the beauty of something like the Seattle Mind Camp - there doesn't have to be a 'why'.

I mean, why did this guy dress up yesterday like a Microsoft employee borg? Just for fun.

Anyway, later this morning Dave's doing an RSS and OPML session. I'll be there for sure. I'll even wear the t-shirt 🙂



Comments (14)
  1. BillyG says:

    I just had to come see whether you were talking about the RSS or the OPML T-Shirt lol. (Bloglines wouldn’t open that T-Shirt link for me again ARGH!)

    OT – I finally gave Google Reader a try again yesterday but they still don’t seem to let me pick the order that I read feeds in (I want to determine which folder of feeds I open, not have them feed me my feeds in whatever order they want), guess I’m sticking with Bloglines, it’s just that AJAX feel and news of videos in Reader piqued my interest.

  2. Phil says:

    just read your blog post (after I sent you the email) …. so now we definitely need to talk.

    I know you check you comments faster than you email: so read my email then then find me. deadline for the thing is tomorrow.

  3. MSDNArchive says:

    will do Phil.

  4. Hey Alex,

    Good points.  Generally you can’t "force" people to do anything.  But you can encourage them to, and even better if we can fine reasons and educate them about the benefits for them then they will adopt these technologies on their own…which is our ultimate goal.  I think discussing these topics with fellow geeks and they relate advanced topics to fellow geeks is the key.  This is what we did in out AJAX as well and it was pretty helpful for all of us.

    Until the next MindCamp!

  5. Steve Eisner says:

    Hi Alex –

    I had the same feeling about Dave’s comments and went up to talk to him afterwards about it, hoping to find some more info about what he thought the forgone conclusion was.  I think he was so set on the whole "you can’t force people to do things" idea, though, that he wasn’t very interested in talking about how you might be able to do this stuff without forcing people…

    Actually, I /am/ most interested in generating tag feeds within an enterprise 😉 but that’s not the only reason I attended the talk.  I’ll be writing up my ideas and I’m hoping to continue the discussion where the group left off.  I’d love to sit down with you (virtually or otherwise) and hear your thoughts on the subject, unencumbered by the limits of a 30-person, 30-minute discussion.

    Also, I wish that you and Michael and Geoff had been able to do a little more leading of the group, because when any of you brought up a topic it led to very valuable discussion (how to deal with permissions?, why tag?, where to tag? etc.)  Maybe by "being able to" I just mean that I wish the format of a mindcamp discussion were more structured 😉

  6. This is great that the discussion is continuing after the MindCamping. I’d like to throw out a couple of ideas to think about.

    1. IBM rolled out DogEar late last year — — and with a VERY small percentage of people tagging resources started to see some benefit. IBM has the concept of role groups and private bookmarks. Is this a good thing? Delicous just added private bookmarks and it didn’t sound like Joshua Schachter was really behind the idea. He commented at BayCHI on April 11 that he has no private bookmarks. Do we run the risk of silos of information being formed by small groups and individuals?

    2. Getting the concept across is hard. At the Two Minute Slam session, I showed a few slides of how you can use comics to get a concept across. Using slides and not showing or only showing a tiny part of a screen helps people grasp the concept without getting taxed with sorting out if they like the color, logo, field placement, etc… I got this from Kevin Cheng and think it will be powerful for helping the people that aren’t going to stick with grasping tagging long enough to get in the habit.

    3. And the third of my two points, you don’t have to get everyone to use it. This isn’t like e-mail where everyone has to participate to get a benefit. People using other people’s tags IS a benefit, even if they aren’t tagging resources. I would HIGHLY recommend reading and understanding Golder & Huberman’s article "The Structure of Collaborative Tagging Systems"

    I’m curious if other people will come away with the impression that you only need 100 people to tag resources to see the trend of terms. Can you get 100 of the 60,000 people at Microsoft to tag? You bet. IBM got 1200(?) to tag without widely announcing their system.

  7. The Delicious Inside discussion started at MindCamp2.0 has continued at Alex’s Blog and Carlos’ Blog….

  8. Steve says:

    Hi guys – I’ve started a series of posts to try to get my ideas about "delicious inside" out there now that the discussion is over:

    – Steve

  9. TechCrunch outlines some of the features in a new product out there develloped called ConnectBeam.


  10. rpl says:

    now you don’t have to sign in to to have a personal online bookmark,

    what you only need is a pop3 account and bookmarkMail.

    bookmarkMail is a php application that using your POP3 mail account as a bookmark storage,

    to add a bookmark you can send yourself an email with URL as a subject,

    and you can fill the email body with the description.

    and if you want to set up for your own server click <a href="">here</a&gt;

    some screenshot<br />

    1. send yourself an email <a href=""&gt;(here)</a><br />

    2. fetch with bookmarkMail <a href=""&gt;(here)</a><br />

    3. see the bookmark <a href=""&gt;(here)</a><br />

    <br />

  11. MSDNArchive says:

    rpl – how is the tagging done?

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