Monday, February 12, 2007

Label Me (Sell-Out!)

In my adolescence, I thought that any reliance on labels was a conformist plot of the masses. Questions that started with "What kind of . . . " often led me to launch into a rant about how labels belong on cans, not people.

And then I grew up. A little. To some degree, I still feel like labeling has a real dark side when it becomes a means to classify and limit the total of a person. But I think that many mature people are able to make some use of labels in order to better understand and organize the world and the extreme amount of information with which we are perpetually assaulted.

Recently, I started noticing that some of my regular blog reads started using those little optional label tags at the end of each post. For a while, I felt like these things were kind of silly, and didn't see the real point in reading someone's post and then seeing a bunch of Cliff-Notesy catch phrases hanging off at the end. Disjointed and odd. It seemed like a great way to take blogging too seriously - does this stuff really need to be archived like something at a university library?

But as I thought about it, and after a couple of times trying to find a post about a particular something, I realized that the little labels are not that foolish after all. If someone's been blogging for a while, and I'm interested in other posts of hers about . . . a holiday . . . finances . . . childrearing . . . driving . . . anything, the labels are actually quite useful.

Arranging posts by topic can help my own writing in showing me whether there are topics I haven't looked back on in a while . . . topics I write about so often it's probably a drag . . . or some interesting subject I started exploring and abandoned.

So I went back the other day and played around with the template a bit, and then went back and labeled all of my posts. Now, since there were only 54 of them, and they are somewhat unified in subject matter, it was not that difficult. The blogger cult has also made it pretty easy by automatically suggesting existing labels while you're typing based on the first letter or two. Lazy labels.

We'll see how the labeling thing turns out, and whether it continues to spread. And I guess I'm not that cool, edgy, and different after all!


mother in israel said...

Labelling your posts doesn't count, labelling people does.

RaggedyMom said...

MII - I know, I was kidding :) The term label in general has a negative connotation for me, so it's good to get over it in cases where it's usesful!

Irina Tsukerman said...

I'm not sure I'll have the patience to label all the rest of my posts - I have over a thousand!

socialworker/frustrated mom said...

I was thinking of labeling mine but don't have patience for over 150 posts and don't really see how it would help me. Hope you have fun with your labels. Good to see you could find something positive to say about labeling:).

Hila said...


Can you pleeeeeease help me figure out how to label posts, then? I mean I know the label thingie at the bottom of the post helps but I mean how do you get a nice little list to show up on your sidebar like that?


Baleboosteh said...

Looks like labels are a good idea, I don't know. I haven't taken that much notice of labels on blogs as yet.

Jack's Shack said...

I have more than 4,000 posts and like to refer back to some of the older ones. I wanted to have labels or some sort of way to categorize my posts for years.

Ezzie said...

Oooh, wanna label mine for me? There's only like 1,500...! :)

SephardiLady said...

Can you shoot me an email on where in the template this is? I still can't figure out this template stuff. :)

mother in israel said...

For the confused: From the dashboard, click Layout, then you will get a screen with a diagram of a page. Click on hte sidebar where it says Add a Page Element, you wil get a screen listing different types of elements. Choose labels. You can edit old posts and add labels to them, and add new labels as you go.

RaggedyMom said...

Sorry for neglecting my comments! I was totally out of comission yesterday with a crazy 24-hour bug. Whew!

I'll paste in what I emailed in response to Hila:

I will tell you what I think I did to make the labels appear on my page. Note - I am not very adept at this, but I kind of fudged my way through it! :)

While signed into blogger, I chose the option to "upgrade my template" which kept things mainly the same. (BEWARE - It did take away my blogroll which I later re-added manually as a "page element" (more on that later) and my sitemeter, which I wasn't happy with anyway, and am looking around for a new one)

Anyway, if you upgrade your template (maybe you already have) then you get a new choice in your dashboard called LAYOUT (Manage: Posts, Settings, Layout)

Choose layout and you can then add what they refer to as "page elements." Choose edit in the element called Labels under the sidebar for page elements. Now you'll see a box called configure labels - Give it a title, and choose how to sort them. Save the changes, and that should be it!

I think that's how I did it - after I had gone back and tagged my posts with labels that is.

PsychoToddler said...

Labeling is probably the one thing I actually like about New Blogger.

It's allowed me to "index" my blog. I still haven't finished, but it is a great way to keep track of old posts.

I can't believe how many times I've written about William Shatner!

medicalmystery said...

you will always be edgy to me! i have no idea about the blogging world so not sure about the labeling question but in my experience labels are time savers.