I just need to take a moment, as a professional web programmer, to express my disdain for “tag clouds”.
My disdain is very great.
Why, you ask? Let me count the ways!
- Tag clouds are ugly
- Tag clouds make it harder to find what you want
- Tag clouds allow you to see what other people care about, thus implying that I should care what other people care about
- Tag clouds facilitate herd mentality
Seriously, folks — if I see a tag cloud, all it does for me is tell me what other people are tagging. WHOOP-DE-DOO!
I mean, why do you want to know what the general populace is looking at? All you’re getting is lowest common denominator stuff. I mean, portions of the general populace are responsible for train wrecks like R&B music, pornography, and pet clothing. I don’t want to find what they like. I want to find what I like.
If there’s something that I might like, but don’t know to search for it — well, that’s where having FRIENDS comes in. I’ll take stupid email forwards over tag clouds any day of the week.
Why should it bother me? Well, because as a web developer, I’m now expected to incorporate what I consider to be an idiotic navigation tool into the sites I work on. I’m redoing Singlesaints.com — no, really, I’m gonna do it this time — and part of me worries that not having tagging mechanisms in place will make folks frown on the site.
My prediction: tag clouds will die out like frames did. Sure, there are still sites that USE frames — and I even LIKED frames in my earlier days — but by and large they’re an endangered species.