What does the term "tag" mean ?
"Tag" has alot of meanings, the common of which - and the one we are talking about - is Online tagging ( tags can also be related to HTML language and Programming, but that's not what we are talking about here )
Online tagging was invented as a way to classify data and information and make it easier and faster to search them
In simple words, a website content has to be classified into categories in order to make it easy for people to find it .. so, there is one of two options:
1- to classify the site into categories, sub-categories and sub-sub-categories and so on .. This is going in the top--->bottom direction.
This way can prove limited, non-flexible and time-consuming when it comes to changing the way items are classified
Example : When I want to classify this article to be easy for me to find it here: I'll have to create a category (Technology) then a sub-category (Internet) and so on.. till I find a suitable subcategory to place my article in
2- on the other hand, there's "tagging" things.. which means applying labels or keywords or "metadata" to them.. this way you are going form bottom--->up direction
This can provide more flexibility ( with endless tags being added by different users - not just the website owner or the content manager )
Tagging is also very easy when it comes to changing the classification later, as a user may apply new tags as fast and easy as he applied the old ones
Example: To classify this article here, all I need to do is to go to the "labels" box, and place as many categories as I want separated by a comma "," : Technology, internet, blogs, tagging, web .. etc
Popular types of tagging that most of us are familiar with can be found in:
1- Blogs ( like Labels for posts on Blogger )
2- Notes and Photos tagging on Facebook
To sum up.. Tags are Labels and Words that describe a piece of information Tags made it very easy and fun to classify data and search them Tags enabled us to connect similar data types more easily