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!