You Are Your Metadata

August 14, 2007 at 9:56 am | Posted in Blogs, Web 2.0 | Leave a comment

As information management increasingly imposes itself on everyday life, will our online lives be reduced to metadata? This thought occurred to me when I was pointed to a news story on a pseudo-celebrity that is now involved in a court case. But it’s not the article I found interesting – it was the metadata panel to the right of it.

The E! website (really, someone pointed me to it – I’ve never seen it before) has data sheets for celebrities it shows to the right of articles. The metadata consists of a photo, related stories, and metadata tags. In this particular case, the tags under her smiling visage are “Contraband, Rx, Rehab, Dawgs, Courthouse, Busted, Hookups”. That’s the complete list – don’t think there’s more depth to round the person out.

I looked around a bit more and found sometimes the metadata seems to be related to the story, such as in the case of a pair of married celebrities who earned themselves two simple metatags: “Courthouse, Weird”. While namecalling was considered rude when you were on the playground, it’s apparently de rigueur once the demands of information management, hyperlinking, and tag clouds come into play.

If you’ve led a public life to any degree, chances are there is currently a lot of metadata out there labeling you as one thing or another. And chances are it’s not a very nuanced picture. All the more reason to get your unfettered thoughts and feelings out into the blogosphere before your metadata defines you.

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