Conversations with parents. Tagging: Lesson 101 – How to use Tags

Are you the type of person that’s really organised? Has a list for everything? Or someone who’s all over the place and has no idea where that bit of paper you really need has got to?

Whichever group you fall into, I want to share something that’s made my life so much easier over the last few years. Tagging. Facebook rolled it out a few years ago. LinkedIn use it, as do the other social networks. You’ve probably been tagged in your friends’ pictures. 

But it’s great for so much more than appearing in a photo you never wanted to see the light of day. I never really thought just how useful tags are until I tried to explain to my mum what tagging is. Before you ask, I have no idea how it came up!

You know when someone has no idea what you’re talking about, “Yes… yes, ohhh I think I see…”  I quickly realised that the barely technical language I consider normal is no good for my mum. What examples could I use so she would understand “tagging”?
Aha! She loves cooking and gardening, she’s tidy and is one of those people that labels everything. This will make it much easier…

“Mum, imagine you’re making a winter stew. Imagine that every spice and herb you have in the cupboard that belongs in your saucepan has a winter stew label. You say the words ‘winter stew’ and all the ingredients you need to cook slide out in front of you ready to use.”

Hmmm, we end up in a rat hole. She’s asking how ingredients magically slide out. Not good. I try again.

“Mum, you’ve got lots of plant seeds stored for the garden. I know you have their names written beautifully so you can find the ones you want. Now imagine you also label them with their characteristics. All the ones that like the sun get a ‘sunny’ label, some might get ‘shady’, others say ‘plant in Spring’, or ‘well drained’. One seed could have lots of different labels.”

I can tell she understands, so I push on.

“Imagine you have an app on your phone where you can search for a plant seed based on one of its characteristics. Let’s say colourful. You type colourful in your app and all the seeds that grow into colourful flowers are shown. You could link this app to the type of seeds you have in the shed. You type what you’re looking for, and the seed trays with that characteristic glow so you can find exactly the ones you want really quickly.”

Now she understands, she says she wants this system in the garden.

There’s a reason behind the chat-with-my-mum story. I recently joined a software company that wants to make working simpler for everyone. One of the cool features in the tool is the ability to add tags to people and work. Yet while I learned how helpful tags can be because of the jobs I’ve had, it seems many people are like my mum. Tags are a great idea when you get how to use them.

You probably got it much quicker than my mum, but I’ll share how I use them.

Everyone is very different at work. Some organised. Some not. Some like evenings and others the morning. People have different qualifications, skills, traits and experiences.  Some are great with other people and some best behind the scenes. Some want to travel and work flexibly, while others need the time and place set in stone!
If you take time to tag people, you can save yourself lots of effort in the long run. Instead of text, Facebook or phone calls, instantly group only those people that are relevant.  It might be for scheduling work, instant messaging or sharing client details securely, tagging gets the right data to the right place in the quickest way. You don’t need to remember who lives where, who might be free, or what traits they have.
So it doesn’t matter if you’re organised or not. Set tags up once, or even better, ask someone to set them up for you so you get the benefits without the effort!


If you want to find out more or ask some questions about how tags could help you, please get in touch with us via our website. Or just register on WorkGaps and find out yourself. We make tagging simple and free 😊.

WorkGaps let you invite anyone you like to link with you. Your staff or network, whether you’re a large company, a small charity, a cleaning business or a sports team manager, it doesn’t matter who. People look after their personal data so you just need to look after their tags.