What Tags Should I Use?

When you create a tagged post, you will need to choose one or more tags. You will generally have a choice of tags, which brings up the question: which of the available tags should I use? To answer this question, you need to understand how tags work. Tags are arranged in a hierarchy. There are a set of top-level tags that apply to general interest areas: for example, Arts and Athletics. Many of these top-level tags have one or more sub-tags. For example, the Music tag is a sub-tag of the Arts tag. When people subscribe to a given tag, they will receive any post that has that tag or any of its sub-tags. So, if I subscribe to the Arts tag, I will receive posts that are tagged with Arts, but also posts that are tagged with Music (or any sub-tag of Music, if Music itself has sub-tags). On the other hand, if I subscribe to Music, but not to Arts, I will only see tags that have the Music tag (or any of its sub-tags) – I would not see posts that just have the Arts tag, or a sub-tag of Arts other than Music.

With the above explanation in mind, you can now understand the general rule for placing tags on a post:

Always use the lowest level tags that describe your post.

By “lowest-level”, we mean the sub-tags furthest down in the tag hierarchy. If you follow this rule, then anyone who is interested in the subject area of your post, or any of its parents, will receive your post. For example, if you are posting about a musical event, you should use the Music tag, and not the Arts tag. If you do this, then anyone who has subscribed to Music, or anyone who has subscribed to Arts, will see your post. If you use the Arts tag instead, then people who have subscribed to Arts or Music will see your post, but so will people who have NOT subscribed to Arts, but have, for example, subscribed to Drama, another sub-tag of Arts. This defeats the whole reason for having tags – to insure that people only receive posts in which they are interested.

If any of this is unclear, please contact the Timeline administrator. If you find that you need a new tag (or sub-tag) to make your post more specific, please read our How-To: Create a Tag, or contact the administrator.