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Why We Tag


I left reviews of places like at the airport, when my flight was delayed, I ... out their camera, then others take out their camera thinking something important ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Why We Tag

Why We Tag
Motivations for Annotation in Mobile and Online
  • Morgan G. Ames
  • morganya_at_stanford.edu
  • Dept. of Communication
  • Stanford University
  • Mor Naaman
  • mor_at_yahoo-inc.com
  • Yahoo! Research Berkeley
  • http//morganya.org/research/chi2007-tagging.pdf

  • Desktop tagging software hasnt taken off, yet
    tagging on Flickr (and ZoneTag and elsewhere
    online) has why?
  • How are people generally using (or wanting to
    use) tags, particularly on photographs?
  • How can people be encouraged to tag even more?

the platform ZoneTag Flickr
our study
  • 13 ZoneTag users who tag (25-45, 9m, 4f)
  • Open-ended, hour-long interviews
  • Reflexive Photo-Elicitation (Van House 2006)

… but first, why do we photograph?
Participants echoed results of previous research
(e.g. Kindberg et al., Van House et al.)
  • Social or individual motivations
  • Functional, affective (e.g. people pictures),
  • Self-expression and self-presentation
  • More archival than short-term

  • Grounded theory interview statements led
    development of dimensions
  • Four types of motivations along two dimensions
  • Function (organization or communication)
  • Sociality (self, friends/family, general public)
  • But … often multiple motivations, even for a
    single tag or photo

motivations for tagging
organization for self
Torch Lake, Anna, Sarah
Mostly I use tags if I go back on Flickr, if I
want to find all the pictures of one thing. If I
tagged ahead of time I can go back and get all my
pictures of my children. … Mostly its for my
own organization at this point.
Sometimes if I really like a picture and I send
it to other people … I then think well, maybe I
should tag this so I can find it again later.
Im obsessive-compulsive (laughs) I like order
and structure.
communication to a future self
If I have the time, the neighborhood, or the
event, I have enough information to look at my
own collection and know where this came from. I
dont have the bandwidth to tag for the benefit
of the Flickr system. … I want at least one hook
of association in there that can help me
reconstruct what I was thinking. I dont have
time to put all the hooks in but I can put one in.
birthday, mica, freshman year
organization for family and friends
When my sisters baby was born she got a new tag,
and at one point my dad was clicking on the
childs name tag … the tag provided a way to
sort by child.
woburn, grandpa, grandma, birthday, rebel
organization for strangers
I don't think friends and family are using my
tags to search. Its more the Flickr community
that is using my tags. My parents got used to the
idea of watching my photo-stream, and my wife
also, and friends are now too.
I took lots of pictures of cars in my
neighborhood because I know that a lot of people
out there would be interested. … I tag photos
with what I think might be interesting to other
people, stuff I think people will like. … Its
like being a good citizen within Flickr.
In this case I wouldnt mind if the public could
see where this band was rehearsing because
thats somewhat of an advertisement of the band.
If my pictures can help get a bands name out
there then sure.
I tagged this new restaurant because it just
opened and it was new and I wanted to tell people
what it was.
Singapore, Asia, food, muffin, coffee
reputation among strangers
It would be a fun experiment to tag one picture
with lots and lots of really generic tags and see
how many clicks you get. Definitely when you tag
your pictures people find them much more than if
you dont.
Mostly friends view my photos, but as I grow my
collection, I am getting more public views.
I've noticed that if I take and tag pictures of
cute female friends, views go up. … Theres a
satisfaction that 50 people have viewed my
photos. I know that tagging can connect my photos
to activities, and get more interest.
nikonstunninggallery, popular, sunset, …
photo pools and standardization
chi2006, montreal, chisv, Canada, Palais de
If Im out with friends … they might suggest
tags. A couple of my friends will say put my
user ID in there so they can find the picture.
... Using my user ID on my Flickr photos pulls my
photo into certain streams.
Im at an event and theres a convergence on a
specific tag, then Ill tag because its for the
good of the group. … Its a nice way to build
live streams and collections of photos. … A
classmate suggested we tag everything
specifically so we can find it, which is actually
really useful.
Ill want to look at all my neighborhoods
tags. … Thats definitely a reason Im putting
these tags in hoping that others reuse that tag
in her neighborhood.
communicating with strangers
In Hawaii on vacation, I wanted to use tags
differently. In Maui we were at a Japanese
restaurant, and I wanted to review the restaurant
with my tags. … I left reviews of places like
at the airport, when my flight was delayed, I
tagged Aloha Air sucks.
Michigan winter sucks
communicating with friends
Its so other people can understand whats in the
photo, or more where I am … I can tell my mom
with the tag look, we went to these places.
I tag so I dont have to explain myself so my
friends dont have to ask me a billion questions
… I can give them the basic story.
Tags are a description to provide context about
what I'm taking a picture of so that my friends
and family can see what I am up to.
late, story of my life, will work harder in the
future, okaybye
in-the-moment social signaling
Its like digital yawning … One person pulls
their cameraphone out, and then everyone starts
pulling out their camera. My use of ZoneTag
went way up when my team started using it. … When
I'm with other friends who don't have ZoneTag,
theres no point in using tags like that. The
social dynamic isnt as fun. … When there is a
social dynamic, my photo taking goes way up. Its
a shared social experience.
At work its a chain reaction. Someone takes
out their camera, then others take out their
camera thinking something important is happening.
participants motivations
benefit realized later?
  • Primary and secondary motivations

the effect of suggested tags
In general, more tagging on ZoneTag than on
similar systems without suggested tags (e.g.
  • I think its cool to tag stuff that might end up
    educating someone else. I see restaurants pop up
    … that someone else has put in.
  • I was taking a picture of the water tower in
    Sunnyvale, and I thought about how my tags would
    show up for others. … Tag suggestions were huge
    for me they really cut down on typing.
  • I appreciate the fact that I can reuse the tags.
    It makes it worth my while. … I try to use as
    many suggested tags that apply. … I also use it
    for auto-completion I type s to get San
  • Im not good at typing on the phone. … I look at
    the tags, and if something comes up right away at
    the top and relevant Ill select it. … When Im
    busy I try to type the first letter and usually
    the phone gets it.
  • BUT … whos this person in my phone!?

Implications for Design
  • Tagging is often social motivations are
  • Make tags pervasive and multi-functional
  • Allow tagging at time of capture AND later
  • Relevant tag suggestions are good, BUT …
  • Irrelevant suggestions may confuse/alarm
  • Laziness may compromise quality
  • Bypass option should be clear

what next?
  • What about those who dont tag?
  • Test on other tagging systems
  • Build better filtering, tag suggestions
  • Longer usage trends
  • Effect of community on usage especially

Morgan G. Ames, morganya_at_stanford.edu, Dept. of
Communication, Stanford University
Mor Naaman, mor_at_yahoo-inc.com, Yahoo! Research
  • http//morganya.org/research/chi2007-tagging.pdf

(No Transcript)
  • Focus on organization retrieval
  • User are creators or synthesizers
  • Altruism tagging for community
  • Motivation taxonomy
  • No synthesizers
  • Inspired by community

why do we photograph?
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