Are folksonomies useful? Sure. Yes.
Like time, it is a human construct. (These are the jokes…) These systems of classification are useful to us to organize and locate items on the internet. There is so much information out there – so much random data – that using tags, classification systems, keywords, metadata, all of these things lend themselves to being searchable content due to their classification systems. The internet being such a vast “sea of information” according to Dr. Bonnici, the only way that we are going to make sense of any of the pages or articles out there is to use a system that calls out small details of the information that users deem worthy, searchable. Enter metadata.
But yes, problems with these tags arise because they are user-generated. Although people are helping classify the information, they are also helping classify information off the cuff, and by their own system. There is no defined taxonomy. It is random, often wrong, or “clever” and not meant to be helpful. Much like everything about the internet, it is haphazard and user-generated, which is liberating and frustrating all in the same breath.
I have a love/hate relationship with the internet. Yes, I feel that it is useful, helpful, informative, connecting, empowering, and sometimes even fun. Yet, it is also often wrong, endlessly time-wasting, too-connecting, invasive, immature, and too anonymous. Folksonomies are a way to chain the beast, at least organizational-wise. It gives an overwhelming amount of data a place to go, it interprets their language for the readers and searchers, and it is generated in a narrow way, by the users who created the content or are familiar with it. Are they perfect? No. But it is all we have to translate the tangle of information before us.