This game works by "viral" transmission, as each consenting victim names seven more. Hence its success on the internet, where being tagged indicates a degree of recognition, albeit modest. Someone is interested enough in you to want to know your likes and dislikes, what makes you tick, your favourite books and films, your worst feature, your star sign, your state of health, and so on.
So, we are presented with the fact that a particular blogger hates bad weather, wind and rain as if that were some kind of private revelation. Or that when I like an album, I play it over and over! Yes but … don’t we all?
Some of them, though, are quite happy to divulge the most intimate details: I sometimes get cysts on my earlobes (they’re not visible to the naked eye). I get swollen feet. I have a phobia about numbers and caterpillars. Which is more revealing, certainly. In fact, it’s way too much information.
What a contradictory lot we are! On the one hand, we protest against government attempts to set up national computer records or identity cards as an infringement of civil liberties, but at the same time we expose our private lives on Facebook (without even upping the privacy settings on our profile) and happily play games of tag. Clearly, though, anyone who is tagged is leaving himself or herself open to manipulation. That’s why some bloggers dread being tagged and don’t know how to diplomatically kick the ball into the long grass when their blogger friends have the bright idea of inviting them to join in. Me? By now you’ll have realised there’s no point tagging me. Don’t even think about it. Find some other victim!
Beware, though – the expression "to tag someone" has taken on a whole new meaning with the advent of Facebook and other social networks, and this one has nothing to do with games between bloggers. Tagging someone means identifying that person by name on a photo you post on a social networking site. On Facebook, all you do is select a photo – let’s say an end-of-term photo of your class at school – and click on "In this photo" at the bottom left. Then, on the photo itself, select the schoolfriend you want to "tag" and enter their name in the window that pops up. The more friends you have on Facebook the more chance you have of being tagged. Not that this is necessarily such a good thing – you might prefer not to have been tagged on a photo of a night out with the lads (or ladettes)! Given the speed at which photos are being exchanged on social networking sites, the old meaning of "tagging" someone on a blog will soon be a thing of the past.