Monday, February 26th, 2007

O’Reilly Radar on tagging

The O’Reilly Radar Blog does a nice post on my When tags work and when they don’t: Amazon and LibraryThing.

O’Reilly blogger Brady Forrest notes that much of what I said echoed Joshua Schachter of

“You have to understand the selfish user – user #1 has to find the system useful or you won’t get user #2. Systems that only become useful when lots of people are using them usually fail, because there’s no incentive for people to contribute themselves.”

So now would a good time for me to say I’m not claiming my insights are all my own. Most of this stuff has been in the air for a while. While I’d never seen that piece by Schachter, I’ve seen similar statements by him and others. (And there’s a good short panel taped with him and David Weinberger.) I’d love to talk tags with these guys. No doubt like Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, Schachter’s so swamped he’s not even answering Bono’s email (source: net@night).*

A few corrections:

  • AllConsuming is already owned by Amazon. That is, Amazon now owns two of LibraryThing’s competitors!
  • Shelfari allows tagging. Honesty hurts.
  • As good as “CEO” sounds, I’m only the president. LibraryThing is an LLC.

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