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Tag or Be Tagged?

cc licensed flickr photo shared by ~Aphrodite

After all these years (this march will be the 7th) I still love flickr most of all what has become Web 2.0 – the Vancouver crew that fortunately failed on Game Never Ending (that explains the .gne extensions on some of the flickr URLs) for it right on social media, long before we had a name for it.

And for me, it was the social tagging that lit a fire that continues to flame. I’m not going to wax on about all the ways tagging enables ways to share, find, connect, externally republish photos (oops, that’s a little wax), but there has been something I’ve noticed yet forgotten about.

I tag my own photos, well some.many of us do. We know where it was taken, we have some internal scheme for organizing (photos from a conference with s shared tag, photos to be pushed to a web site, photos form your daily photo project).

But if I find one of your photos, and want to use tags to pool or group it with the same tag I am using– for the most part, I cannot add tags to your photos. Well, I could, if you had modified your permissions from the default, as mine are:

I typically notice this in the Spring, when I prepare our social media aspects for the NMC Summer conference. Typically, there are no tagged photos, so I like to start with ones from the city the conference is held in. But How can I get tagged photos for a city I’ve not been to? What I try is to ask our conference hosts tot do some for me. But if I search in flickr, most of the creative commons photos I find, which are set to be openly used through the license, most are not open for me to add, say an nmc2011 tag

Because its not the default, and people mostly are not aware if it.

But if you live in ir have photos of Madison, Wisconsin, please tag tag tag some local photos nmc2011).

If you believe in openness and sharing, and you participate in flickr, shouldn’t you open your photos to be tggged by others?

If you tag why not let yourself be tagged?

I find it interesting to see what others tag my photos (I see notice of this in the RSS feed for my flickr activity). Wouldn’t it be illustrative to see what descriptive words other people see in your photos, perhaps themes, metaphors you do not see yourself? Wouldn’t it expand the findability of images via tags if others could do the work for you?

Sure, I guess someone would look at my photo of myself and tag it “dorkbutt” or “loser” but you can remove those. That, to me, is an edge case. Well, maybe it is a pretty regular tag applied by others to my photos.

And until most of the flickr userbase follows my wishes (dreaming), wouldn’t it be useful if flickr allowed an advance search for photos that are open to be tagged? I can think of all kinds of interesting activities and apps that could work off of that.

Let yourself be tagged, just modify your account settings. Open up your photos to community tagging…

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An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


  1. I checked and I had this set already, didn’t have to make any changes.

    Thanks for the heads up and suggestion tho! I wasn’t sure if I had this open for anyone to tag or not. Thanks also for the tip of following Flickr activity via the provided RSS feed. I haven’t done that, but am adding it to my Google Reader. :-)

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