What Are Tags?
Back in the heyday of StumbleUpon and Delicious, tagging was all the rage. One had the ability to view a webpage, and categorize it using whatever set of labels you wanted, that worked best for your brain’s organizational style. Those labels were then searchable, in order to find items you’ve saved. Salesforce.com took that consumer web feature, and allowed you to tag practically every record to whatever object you wanted. Its classic examples were that you could tag a Contact record as a “golfer”, or something to help you better relate to your clients. Salesforce tags could be for your own personal use (so only you could see them), or they could be public tags (where your tag could be seen by others in the company).
The tough part with tags is that it’s as organized as your brain is. If you tag something too broadly, then you’ve rendered your own organizational method useless. Too specific and you’re using too many tags per record, and they may not be referenced in the future. This issue can be multiplied in Salesforce, especially when a user can broadcast their tagging method to others within the company, if their org allows the use of Public Tags. Plus, I could create a new tag that is synonymous with a tag that you created (examples: ServiceCloud and SvcCloud). If both of you make those tags public, there’s some inconsistencies that can occur.
The best bet for now would be to turn off the ability to enable Public Tags. Depending on the culture of your company, and the “‘net savviness” of your constituents, they may or may not understand tagging.
Feature Request (in Agile story format!)
However, there is potential for tagging in Salesforce to be used for good. As an administrator, I want to be able to grant public tag creation control to a subset of users, so that the right people are free to create tags in a way that keeps them fairly consistent and organized.
You may say that that is not the gist of what tagging is about. (Remember the word tag that Delicious was famous for, that showed the most used tags for certain webpages?) That was crowdsourced from millions of users. With just 10s or even a few thousand users within a Salesforce org, the wisdom that comes with mass isn’t as noticeable, and thus not as powerful.
On the other end of the spectrum, tagging can be helpful for an individual. But in Salesforce, collaboration is king, and your way of grouping things may not match how I’d group it. Thus my dream for a model that blends some freedom that embodies the gist of what tagging is about, while still incorporating some discipline needed within a business/enterprise/mid-market environment.
But then again, this feature definitely seems a bit orphaned so consider this a minor daydream.