Commentary

Facebook Tests Profile Tagging

If you ever feel like you really need to boil yourself down to some basic attributes so people can form judgments about you more easily -- I know I don’t! -- Facebook has a new feature that is just for you: profile tags. As first noted by The Verge earlier this week, Facebook seems to be taking a page (get it?) from LinkedIn, by allowing you to describe yourself with a few pithy, well-chosen words… or a lot of pithy well-chosen words -- your call really.

Depending on how you feel like reducing yourself to nouns and adjectives, the tags can cover everything from career and professional aspirations to family, hobbies, and of course sheer meaningless abstraction. Examples: “marketer, free spirit” or “paleo diet evangelist, wet towel,” or “frat boy, loud at parties, boor.” Your Facebook friends can also suggest tags that will appear publicly on your profile, provided you approve of their suggested descriptors.

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This being Facebook, of course your other Facebook friends can then vote on the tags to indicate their agreement.  It’s worth noting the tags are only being tested among a limited number of users, and there’s no word when a broader roll-out might ensue.

Another question, in light of Facebook’s controversial “real name” policy, is whether the social network will allow you to describe yourself with made-up words, which after all sometimes provide the most accurate descriptions. As Lewis Carroll wrote in his poem “The Jabberwocky”:“Twas brillig, and the slithy toves/Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:/All mimsy were the borogoves,/And the mome raths outgrabe.”

Personally, if I can’t tag myself as mimsy and a little slithy, I’m not even going to bother.

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