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I'm a label whore

5

Setting the bar: Gmail

There was once a time when I was juggling 2 hotmail accounts and 1 ISP email account. I eventually decided to give into the hype and check out Gmail. One of the main things that drew me to Gmail (besides the enormous capacity given for free) was the ability to create multiple labels that would help me organize email when used with filters.

When Google announced nested labels, I went crazy. I don't recall the exact day or what else was going on in my life, but it was definitely the most important features they've added for anyone that loves creating filters to sort mail.

To this day, I cringe at the sight of friends using Gmail without any filters/labels. Here's some ways I'm using labels:

  • Orders
    • Newegg
    • Amazon
      • Shipped
      • Order Notice
      • Returns
      • Digital
  • Friends
    • Friend A
    • Friend B
  • Family
    • family member A
    • family member B
  • Social
    • Facebook
      • friend add
      • photo tag
      • wall
      • message
    • Twitter
      • new follow
  • Forums
    • forum a
    • forum b
    • forum c
  • etc


Likewise, I'm still using Google Reader for this reason

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Here are some sites that haven't figured this out

Netflix

It's interesting that Netflix has multiple ways for people to discover things to watch. You can browse titles by "New Arrivals" (sort method is still a mystery), genres (Classics, Comedies, etc), director, actor, and tags ("Goofy", "Witty")

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As far as managing your queue goes, the only option Netflix provides is resorting:

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Why doesn't Netflix let users build their own buckets to drop titles in? Here are some I'd create with that ability:

  • Watched
  • TV series
  • Best of
  • (Genre)
  • (user) - Aren't we all sharing Netflix accounts with another user?

Twitter

Twitter does have a label option: lists. Unfortunately, you aren't able to create more than 20 lists. I wonder why Twitter felt the need to limit the lists you can create, yet they allow people to follow thousands of users. Obviously, the more you follow, the harder it becomes to make sense of your timeline. It's not because you follow users that spew uninteresting tweets; it's because you have so many different interests and sometimes you're constantly scrolling around to make sense of replies for users who follow and tweet each other.

Sometimes I enjoy watching behind the scenes dialog between the editors within the sites and the easiest way to track that is with a list. A different use is my "cars" list that's composed of different editors from various sites. I find it hard to believe anyone is able to reduce their interests down to 20 lists

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YouTube

YouTube may be the biggest offender when it comes to empowering users with different ways to browse their subscriptions.

The subscriptions page gives users a dump of the latest videos posted by channels they are subscribing to. Unfortunately, users who post batches of videos at a time can negate the usefulness of this page as they become the dominant listing, bumping off other videos recently posted by other uses.

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Like Netflix, YouTube has built many tools for users to search other videos (tags, descriptions), yet makes it frustrating browsing the channels you subscribe to. We either get to see everything (subscriptions) or one at a time (checking individual channels)

Labels I would use to group channels:

  • Music - (record label channels/VEVO). Possible nested labels for professional artists, amateur, etc
  • TV - all my TV channels (Conon O'Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, etc)
  • Retailers
  • Tech
  • Friends
  • Cars
  • Photography
  • Guides/DIY
  • Networks (TWiT, CNET, Revision3)
  • Gaming

Conclusion: Shouldn't labels be table stakes?

We all use the internet differently and for varying amounts of time. Why are websites only focusing on discovering content you like and completely neglecting the user experience of consuming content you are subscribing to? There's no formula for how you can use a label, but please let us create one if we want.

PS I know there are scripts/browser extensions out there that can help provide similar functions. I'm asking for native features.