Ok, I'm peering this way and that around the blogosphere, looking and learning about all things technical. (I mean, yeah, I didn't fall off the turnip truck yesterday, but it's different making offhand comments that sound in the know compared to actually using and creating this technology.) I understand the concept of "tags," and even "tag clouds" and I'm still trying to get my head around what a trackback is and whether it's useful. Are they annoying, to get pinged all the time, or does it help continue the conversations? (And did you notice my links? heh. Such the quick learner!)
But a more general question: does anybody in the academic blogosphere use tags? I see that people use them on their posts, of course, but does anybody actually search for tags or navigate personal blogs using tags? I've searched massive sites like Daily Kos with them, but they don't seem necessary in a little blog where you can run through the archives pretty quickly. (And I should add that I prefer to read blogs about academics rather than academics' professional blogs, blogs about life rather than a technical subfield. To see how the other half lives, or me with a real job, or something like that. I'll do a post about envy and blogging later.)
In fact, tags seem to function more as a stylistic element on the blogs I read, a final (often comedic) touch to round off a post --- a digital garnish, if you will. These tags often seem to be a way of having the last word, or making an ironic twist on the post (or a resounding recapitulation of it) than categorizing topics in any sort of logical way. Borges's description of the Chinese encyclopedia (as analyzed by Foucault) moved to cyberspace, as it were. How would a complete stranger know where to find, say, easy recipes for baba ganoush, or videos of academics gone wild, or instructions on how to submit a conference abstract, if they tried to navigate such tags as "that other thing ... life" or "the label for posts that defy labels" on academic blogs? Perhaps this is blindingly obvious ---- I mean, academics are of course going to be aware of these theories and self-aware of their own ironic play within the constraints of the blogging medium, but I was just intrigued by the fact that tags seem to be used consistently as a rhetorical maneuver rather than an ordering system. (This could also indicate the humanities-sciences differences in thinking, as well.)
So, anyways, what other technical stuff can you do with a blog? Anything else interesting?