Autodetected subject tags


I can’t believe I’ve discovered Adam Cadre’s website only recently, since I was already familiar with his name for having played and enjoyed some of his Interactive Fiction games such as Varicella, Photopia and 9:05. I suggest you bookmark his Calendar for interesting reviews and observations regarding books, films and writing in general.

Anyway, I was reading his March minutiae, and the following passage caught my attention. I fully agree with him:

[…] it seems to me that a great breakthrough in social networking would be autodetected subject tags. Manually entered subject tags have been around for ages on blogging sites, but even if they were available on e.g. Facebook I imagine that few people would actually use them — the ratio of tagging effort to posting effort would be too high. But it’s strange to me that Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus put so much emphasis on filtering whom you can see and so little on filtering what you can see. For instance, just looking at my Facebook feed here, here’s an international travel post; it’s by someone I haven’t seen since the ‘80s, but it’s still interesting. A post about an unusual incident in class by someone I’ve only met once in my life — still interesting. On the flip side, no matter how well I know you or how much I like you… I don’t care at all about running. Some days my feed is like 50% marathons and marathon prep and my interest in these posts is exactly zero. But I don’t want to filter out the people, only the subject! Surely it can’t be too complicated for the site to do some sort of quick analysis, even if it’s just a keyword match, and add a bunch of tags about the likely content of a post that could then be run through filters?

Also, as a Twitter user, I’d love that hashtags — whether manual or automatic — wouldn’t count against the 140-character limit.

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