What is a folksonomy? Folksonomies are internet based information retrieval methodology consisting of collaborative generated, open ended labels that categorize content such as Web pages, online photographs, and web links (Wikipedia). To put into simpler words, it’s really just a form of social tagging (hashtags). Some of you may be getting confused with the difference between folksonomies and taxonomies. Folksonomies use user tags to structure their content while taxonomies don’t necessarily always use user-generated tags and are classifications defined by more formal tags (Gartner).
Folksonomies are without a doubt an extremely useful tool when it comes to trying to categorize certain information into a specified grouping. It’s very helpful to find relevant information because of something called “tag clouds”. A tag cloud displays the most widely relevant/popular tags on a webpage in a larger size. With this, a user can easily glance at the page and see what the top tags are and if the page will be useful to them. Tagging connects people with similar interest by letting them contribute to a certain topic and create a community.
Folksonomies can be a great form of entertainment, but they are also very useful for finding data/information. By using a certain hashtag that is similar to a topic you and interesting about digging into, many results can come up. Many people that post useful information incorporate tags which makes it pretty easy to find their work.
Sometimes, tags can be purely individually personalized for their own organizational purposed. For example, my cousin has two kids and whenever she posts pictures of them she tags #GrivasBrothers (Grivas is their last name) and when you click on the hashtag its basically her own personal album of her boys without any leaked pictures from other users. The more original you make the tag, the more personalized it is. Tags can also just be completely random to convey a simple thought or statement without writing it in sentence form. For example, someone may post something about a how it’s a gloomy day outside and hashtag #Iwishitwassunny. With this hashtag the person most likely isn’t using it for other people that “wish it was sunny” to find her hashtag, but rather just to convey a little emphasis on the post.
As a whole folkonomies are very useful as a tool to categorize information in the vastness of the Web. Without them it would most likely be pretty difficult to find information efficiently!