Tuesday, 30 October 2018


Oxford Words guest blogger Elyse Graham gifts us with a name for the phenomenon that coincided and defined the transition from the early internet into the period called the Web 2.0 when the rise of social media platforms made going online interactive—for virtually all whereas it was the bailiwick of a few companies and caretakers previously—and not just something to be read or watched: folksonomy.
Information theorist Thomas Vander Wal coined the idea in 2004 for the informal systems of curation and classification (a portmanteau of folk and taxonomy) that were being developed through labels and hashtags. Whereas thanks to advances in search engine indexing, visiting websites and bookmarking websites could be an uncategorised activity (Everything is Miscellaneous was a 2007 book on the power of the digital disorder and the lack of an authoritative card catalogue), sharing seems to need a tag of some sort—even if it’s made conspicuous by its absence. Folksonomies have moved beyond being a utilitarian tool for grouping and information retrieval and have taken on a life of their own as stage whispers and theatrical asides, revelling more in their unhelpful, for the nonce specificity rather than defining broader genre and genus.