Tags are the new links
From John Battelle's Searchblog, "The ongoing trend of tagging. Which for now I see to 2005 as links were to 1995 – hard to do, done mainly by geeks, but very important as a signal for future revs of search… "
…and as links became ubiquitous, we learned how to use them. There are links and URLs everywhere now.
Ala Ambient Findability, by Peter Morville, what happens when everything is tagged? In the same book, there's a discussion of a Pace Layering, referencing Stewart Brand: "…buildings, and society as a whole, are constructs of several layers…each with a unique and suitable rate of change. The slow layers provide stability. The fast layers drive innovation…." With regard to a discussion of metadata, "Taxonomies and ontologies provide a solid semantic network that connects interface to infrastructure. And the fast-moving, fashionable folksonomies (tags) sit on top: flexible, adaptable, and responsive to user feedback. And over time, the lessons learned at the top are passed down, embedded into the more enduring layers of social and semantic infrastructure…."
Hyperlinks are the foundation and tags are the flexible social glue keeping them relevant.