I've made no secret of how happy it makes me that Microsoft made the decision to go "all in" on social networking features in SharePoint 2010. One of the core aspects, if not the very foundation of the SharePoint social strategy is the Tags & Notes feature. If you're not a social media geek, however, you might be wondering what, exactly, Tags & Notes are. Even if you're familiar with the terms, you may still be wondering about their practical applications in a business environment.
How can I effectively flag content of interest in a manner which will be accessible not only to me, but to my colleagues throughout the organization, in an easily searchable / accessible manner?
Located in the upper right-hand corner of the Ribbon, you'll find the Tags & Notes button. As you can see in the image below, Tags & Notes are defined (via mouseover) thusly: "Tags help you remember links and classify the page. Notes are public comments. Tags and notes post to your news feed and work across different sites."
Clicking the Tags & Notes button will render a popup form with two tabs which will enable you to add tags and/or notes to the page or document in question. The Tags tab will be activated by default and, as you can see in the image below, not only are you provided with space to enter short, descriptive words or phrases relating to the page content:
Note: Had I tagged the page in the image below previously, my existing tags would appear in this space (as well as on my Profile page in the My Site).
As you can see, there are also two additional features available on the form. The first of these is the capability to mark a given tag as Private by clicking the associated check box, but be advised that doing so does not mean that only you will be able to see the tag; the tag will be publicly available, but what will be kept private is the fact that you're the one who created the tag. The other feature what I think is one of the killer apps associated with Tags, and that's the ability to tag external pages. Yep, by dragging and dropping the link provided link text, or right-clicking to Add to Favorites, you'll be able to add tags and notes to any Web Page anywhere you can get to on the Internet. In essence, this allows you to bring relevant content into your SharePoint environment in the sense that the your tags and notes on the page/content will appear in your SharePoint environment, and that external content will be not only be easily accessible from within your environment, but it will be a mere click away for you and your colleagues.
I'll revisit the topic of tags in an upcoming post on metadata in SharePoint 2010, and will get into the Suggested tags feature, as well as tag clouds, and the difference between taxonomy and folksonomy in that future post.
The other available tab on the Tags & Notes form is is your Note Board:
Notes can be thought of as being similar to comments in that they allow you to publicly share your thoughts (within your organization, of course) on any given page's content. Once a Note has been added, just as with your tags, it will appear in the Activities feed on your My Site. The note itself will appear as a hyperlink, and clicking the link will render the page to which the note applies, whether it links to an internal or external page or site. On the right-hand side of the image below, you can see how tags and notes appear within the Activities feed:
As you can see on the left-hand side of the image above, you're also provided the ability to add the SharePoint Tags and Notes tool to external sites within the Tags & Notes area of your My Site. The process to add the tool is the same as when doing so from the Tags & Notes form as described above.
- As mentioned above, marking a tag Private does not make the tag itself private, but only makes private the identity of the user who created the tag.
- There is a Delete option associated with both your tags and notes (as seen in the My Site image above), but be advised that once a tag of note has been posted, it will be immediately available throughout the organization, so bear that in mind before you hit the Save button.
- Use tags and notes to share information with colleagues [Microsoft.Office.com]
- View my tags and notes – SharePoint Server [Microsoft.Office.com]
- Activate or deactivate the SocialRibbonControl farm-level feature (SharePoint Server 2010) [TechNet]