Some fresh perspective on the future of tags and tag clouds. In summer of 1996 I saw a program on Dutch TV (VPRO) on a particular MIT initiative focusing on how concepts are processed by the brain and how this can be visualised using computers. This was an epiphany moment that has been materializing increasingly ever since. My realization was primarily that to boost user experience, creativity and user satisfaction to the maximum level, we need to emulate the exact brain processes in their respective software systems. Neuroscience driving usability. More in this post from Joe Lamantia, especially the control features related to tag clouds.
"To date, tag clouds have been applied to just a few kinds of focuses (links, photos, albums, blog posts are the more recognizable). In the future, expect to see specialized tag cloud implementations emerge for a tremendous variety of semantic fields and focuses: celebrities, cars, properties or homes for sale, hotels and travel destinations, products, sports teams, media of all types, political campaigns, financial markets, brands, etc.. In the first instance, tag clouds will continue to become recognizable and comprehensible to a greater share of users as they move down the novelty curve from nouveau to known. In step with this growing awareness and familiarity, tag cloud usage will become:
1. More frequent
2. More common
3. More specialized
4. More sophisticated
In the second instance, tag cloud structures and interactions will become more complex. Expect to see:
1. More support for cloud consumers to meet their needs for context
2. Refined presentation of the semantic fields underlying clouds
3. Attached controls or features and functionality that allow cloud consumers to directly change the context, content, and presentation of clouds
From a business viewpoint, these tag cloud implementations will aim to advance business ventures exploring the potential value of aggregating and exposing semantic fields for a variety of strategic purposes:
1. Creating new markets
2. Understanding or changing existing markets
3. Providing value-added services
4. Establishing communities of interest / need / activity
5. Aiding oversight and regulatory imperatives for transparency and accountability."