Alphabet Loosing Importance

March 17, 2008

Seth Godin wrote a post saying that many things now are not being categorized by alphabetical order, and when they are its no longer how you want them to be ordered.

This is entirely true.

Of course there will always be certain items that need to be categorized this way. Ex: Dictionary. But they way we operate now, day to day, has changed the way we need things presented to us. If everything was categorized in alphabetical order, it would take us ages to find exactly what we are looking for (if we find it at all).

When looking up books at the library you don’t want to leaf through catalogues trying to find a book on business, in only the ‘B’ section. If you do you would be missing out on the hundreds of other business books that don’t start with a ‘B’. We are beginning to find ways to categorize items, according to RELEVANCE. Or any other way that better helps you find items that you are searching for. Taxonomy is evolving.

This new way of categorizing has been brought to you by the internet, or more appropriately Web 2.0.With the use of Tags, or other technologies, we have been able to categorize items in basically any way we want. By time, subject, author, artist, colour, country etc… By using tags, one can find anything they want fast and easy. Now, everything can be put in many different categories, hundreds even. Articles, movies, music etc… are no longer needles in a haystack, but linked to many different topics. By using tags, we are able to find items that we may not have necessarily been looking for either, but have none the less helped us gain knowledge on a topic or introduced us to new things.
Even applications (outlook/Mail, iTunes/other music apps etc…) have given us the ability to organize items, according to how you want them (Last played, most played, relevant emails etc…).

This new way of categorizing has been accepted by basically everyone, and has become the norm. It is constantly developing, organizing items so they can be found better and thus become more helpful to us.



2 Responses to “Alphabet Loosing Importance”

  1. Hi Jerry

    It’s not quite true that it’s the web that has created the possibility for better access to content. Subject arrangements of books in libraries started over from alphabetical categorisations starting in the late 18th century (and former US President Thomas Jefferson had a big hand in that!). But working with physical books meant you could only arrange them one way. What the web (and tags) have given us is the ability to approach our content from many different perspectives (as you correctly note).

  2. Tasia Says:

    I think tags are great too, but I’d rather use a lot of tagged items (preferably listed in *ironically* alphabetical order) than an infinitive list of solely alphabetized items. I think since systems of organization continue to expand, we’ll think of something else to replace tags as the next new thing. But I’m probably wrong and I won’t happen, okay I’m just rambling now…sorry gang!

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