The “writing” tag.

28 02 2008

Here’s the thing. I know what you’re doing is writing in your blog. You are opening the Write Post tab and typing text in.

That does not make your post about writing.

There’s a distressing tendency toward overuse of the writing tag on WordPress blogs. Just hit the tag surfer and you’ll see what I mean. You’ll find people musing on their personal lives under the writing tag. You’ll find gibberish spam under the writing tag. You’ll find people raging at God, declaring their Christianity to the world, and searching for inner peace, all hidden away under the writing tag.

What you might find, under all the dross, is a post about writing, or containing actual writing. Posts containing advice or stories, travel-writing or statements of word count progress. Buried beneath gratuitous and widespread misuse of the beleagured writing tag are the posts that surfers and other bloggers are actually looking for.

All that’s happened is the tag itself has become meaningless. Completely useless to anyone who tries to use it, and seemingly interchangeable with any other word in the English language by most people who use it, WordPress.com hits an average of one post ever four minutes with writing somewhere in the tag list, but only one post every three hours that deserves to use it.

I’m begging you. Stop using the writing tag for posts about getting drunk last night, talking about how fat you are, posting spam about Club Penguin or erectile dysfunction, your new shoes, the joy of your faith, how rubbish Microsoft are, and how your life has been made miserable by office politics.

Stop it. Use appropriate tags. Use tags that will allow people who are actually looking for what you’re blogging about to find your blog, and allow people who are looking for posts about or containing writing to find what they are looking for.

A little courtesy and thought. That’s all it takes.

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8 responses

28 02 2008
Ed

I don’t use tags at all in my posts, just put them in categories, not one of which is labelled writing. Am I missing something?

28 02 2008
Trudi Topham

The idea is to use categories to broadly define the post, then tags to highlight specific points of interest within it. So for instance a post in the Travel category might have tags such as “Japan, Tokyo, Asakusa, 2007” and so on.

Then when a reader reads a post they like, they can click on a tag to be shown all other posts in your blog that share that tag.

You can also search wordpress.com for particular tags simply by going to http://www.wordpress.com/tag/tagnamehere. So clicking http://www.wordpress.com/tag/writing will pull up recent posts with the writing tag, for instance.

Tags help make a blog and a blog hosting site navigable. Misuse of them does the exact opposite.

28 02 2008
Svenyboy

I never search by tags and you have put me off even starting now. Thanks for saving me some time! (~frantically checks his own tags for potential abuse~)

29 02 2008
themahadevi

i have been thinking about the conflict aspect, although i haven’t gotten it all sorted out yet. i’m contemplating the relationship between darya and her mother, and definitely some friction within the marriage. i left that part out because i’m not really sure about it yet. thanks so much for your comment, i need all the help i can get 🙂

29 02 2008
themahadevi

and amen to this post.

29 02 2008
Martin

I never use tags on my posts either, I’m always a bit slow to change with things like this, I’m used to my categories!

29 02 2008
The Writing Tag Lesson « a few words from bobprice

[…] Read her post. It’s a good one. […]

3 03 2008
Don

I’ve been thinking about getting rid of the writing category within my blog myself since 99.9999% of my blog is about writing. Kinda supererogatory, don’t ya think.

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