Alexandra Samuel on Democratic Engagement

The You’re It blog is a clearinghouse for all things taxonomic (tagging, tags, tagsonomy, taxonomy, etc.)

If you haven’t tried tagging yet – type the word “delicious” in your browser’s URL bar… If that doesn’t work go for del.icio.us. Check it out. Delicious, Technorati, and Flickr are all super-tag-happy.

Alexandra Samuel writes in her self-intro on You’re It about democratic engagement, and how the way public political conversation is structured means that most people tend to miss out on the dinner conversation of others. According to Alexandra:

“The Internet brings a lot of these previously hidden conversations out into the semi-open — for example with blogs, newsgroups and chat rooms. So what we’re left with is the chaos: millions of voices and comments all battling for our attention. How can governments start to sort through this chaos to find out what citizens want? How can non-profits sift through for the input and goals of their members?”

She’s got more interesting things to say about how tagging can provide a political taxonomy for those interested in mining public opinion. Check it out.

For more of the logic behind tagging, read Clay Shirky’s essay Ontology is Overrated, or listen to David Weinberger riff on tagging and other topics last January at the Blogging, Journalism & Credibility conference at Harvard in an after-dinner talk which I find to be really fun listening. The mp3 is here.

The toolbox of disintermediation and human communication keeps getting bigger. Yes, that’s one toolbox for both purposes.