In recent discussions of the usefulness and importance of tags, an issue has been whether tags are socially constructed or emerge as a result of personal information management goals. On the one hand, some argue that tags are a result of social influence where what tags are posted by others determine the choice of tags posted by a person. On the other hand, it is argued that tag creation is a very individual phenomena where personal choice of words as compared to what tags other users are using defines the overall tag use. In a notable research by Rader and Wash (2008), using data from a site called del.icio.us, a collaborative web bookmarking site, evidence was found that “users choose tags in a pattern consistent with personal information management goals, rather than as a result of social influence”.
As evident from the above mentioned research, tag choice is indeed a personal information management goal and this applies well to the use of tags on sites like del.icio.us. Nevertheless, tag use is a complicated phenomena which may differ on other sites. Depending on the personality of the user, we may find different patterns in the use of tags. The issue is important because tags are vital keywords that help in the organization as well as the retrieval of information.
Tagging has somewhat become pervasive in the Web 2.0 environment. While pictures can be tagged on sites like Flickr, bookmarks are being tagged on sites like del.icio.us. The blogosphere is also not aloof from the tagging trend. Important information in posts is easily identified through keywords or tags. Twitter users use keywords with hashtags that serve as tags and thus help organize tweets accordingly.
Tagging items may be a somewhat effortless task, however, it all comes down to tagging accurately. Users may be motivated to tag in order to gain more visibility. This may not always truly reflect the true nature of the content as the emphasis is on using as many keywords as possible that may seem attractive.