So I may be the last one on the blo(g)ck to talk about this. After all, Business Week this week wrote (Picking Up Where Search Leaves Off – requires subscription) about del.icio.us and other tagging services.
Awhile back I started using two social tagging services – del.icio.us and furl. For those of you who are unfamiliar with these services, check out John Udell’s screencast on del.icio.us over at Infoworld.
The service is fairly straightforward…whenever you see something you want to save, you click “post to del.icio.us” or “Furl It!” in your browser’s links section and up comes a menu that enables you to save the link, add additional comments to it and tag it with your own tags. Giving users the ability to develop a list of tagged links is very compelling all by itself…
But that is not where it stops. You can also see who else tagged the same thing as you did, and see what tags they used (and based on others’ tags you may revisit your own tags.) You can also subscribe to a tag’s RSS feed (so every time someone tags something with a tag you subscribe to, you get it in your reader) or to a person’s RSS feed (so every time that person tags something, you get it as well).
I am finally getting to the point I wanted to make – which is that I am convinced that these simple services can be very powerful in your daily fact gathering, knowledge sharing and collaboration. You could subscribe to tags that represent your competitors – even small companies return tens or hundreds of listings! You could also ask your team to tag things with pre-determined tags whenever they see something of interest and then have everyone on the team subscribe to that tag’s rss feed. You could even extend that to include customers – have them tag stuff with your company or product name when they run into something that they find relevant to you.
The other neat thing is that unlike with so many other “enterprise” applications, I do not think that you will have much of a barrier to adoption. The beauty of those solutions is that they pack enough benefits to the individual users. So they don’t have to wait until the broader community uses it to derive benefits – a common barrier to adoption in group applications.