Why We Love To Tag Facebook Photos

As Facebook users acclimate themselves to the recent addition of the ability to tag pages in photos and the upgrade to visual recognition, we ponder the question: Why do we like tagging so much?

In 2007, if you asked most people what tagging was, they would have tapped you on the shoulder and said “you’re it” as if they were children on a playground during recess. Now, tagging photos of each other has become absolute commonplace on Facebook.

Tagging on Facebook has been a key driver in its exponential growth. After all, a few years ago, Facebook’s original tagging application was one of the major differences at the time between Facebook and its competitors. Since then many other websites have added tag features to their photo uploads, including Google’s Picasa and Myspace.

As Facebook users acclimate themselves to the recent addition of the ability to tag pages in photos and the upgrade to visual recognition, we ponder the question: Why do we like tagging so much?

Obviously, tagging is a way of letting our friends and family know that we posted photos online that include them. But couldn’t we just send them the link of the album instead?

The current Facebook profile layout features five of our most recently tagged photos at the top of our profile pages. Some suggest that this new layout is Facebook’s way of promoting its tagging application. In a backwards way, this current layout might motivate us to tag ourselves and others in order to arrange the top of our profile with the photos we want featured.

Years ago, if we were tagged in another’s photo, our Facebook friends could see that tagged photo and the entire photo album that it was included in. Now, if you use some of the upgraded privacy settings, some people on our contacts list can’t see photos that we are tagged in.

On the other hand, many Facebookers continue to tag themselves in their own photos. Why do we do this? Our friends and family already know who we are and what we look like. Is there an underlying need for attention from others that somehow motivates us to do this?

What motivates you to tag — or not tag — yourself in Facebook photos?

Guest writer Lee Porter is a writer at Blabbb.