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Photo tagging on facebook
October 26, 2009, 6:52 am
Filed under: images | Tags: , , , ,

How many times have you been tagged in a photo that isn’t you? I was tagged in this picture a few weeks ago along with 49 other people. (Apparently 50 is the most people you can tag in one photo.) It’s a appropriation of the “Jesus: all about life” posters. A friened of mine made it (I think he was trying to start a meme). It’s an interesting aspect of how images are used on social networks, that they can actually link to references rather than just imply them. People can communicate with you through tagging. When someone wants to show you something on facebook, they don’t send it to you, they tag you. Maybe this is because tagging is so simple and effortless. But perhaps it is also to do with the public nature of tagging. With the above image, friends of mine can see that I have been tagged, meaning that the image reaches beyond the initial network of its creator. Although I can untag myself I can’t stop anyone form tagging me in the first place. This means that, although I ultimately control what remains in the archive of my social network, I can’t control how I will be represented at all times.  In a way this is not so different from how photography has always worked. You can’t always control who has your image or how they will use it. However, there are slight differences, given that the tagging function allows people to affiliate you with images that are not of you. In this and many other ways your friends play a large role in shaping your online identity.

This practice links in with the idea of folksonomy. It is a really interesting way of categorising images, which varies quite a lot from the way someone might arrange a physical photo album. Facebook photo tagging demonstrates the key features of a folksonomy as discussed in class. It is a more personal and subjective way of labeling the material. This tagging process differs greatly to how things are tagged on delicious or in blogs because it is slightly more consistent and at the same time, a little more interactive. On facebook multiple people can tag things in the same photo at the same time. People can be tagged as a form of communication rather than a form of classification. With its communicative and subjective nature, will this information be valuable in the long run? To who?

Here is an interesting group: tag who looks familiar takes pictures from external sources like awkwardfamilyphotos.com, posts them and encourages members to tag their friends.

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I have a friend in Europe who constantly tags images of objects/sights that she obviously wants me to pay attention to. As a result when you click on my photo’s I am anything from a door to a painting. Last time i checked I think i may have been a pair of ripped pants after a bicycle incident. – karla

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