An ontology, on the other hand, encompasses a representation, formal naming and definition of the categories, properties and relations between the concepts, data and entities that substantiate one, many or all domains of discourse. All fields develop their own ontologies to reduce the complexity of their data and to organize it in such a way so that it makes sense. In a fascinating article we read for one of the classes that I'm in, the researchers created an ontology related to negative comments posted on Twitter about a compnay's product. By extracting the negative posts associated with the product, it gives the company an opportunity to better understand their consumers' needs. The ontology helps with this process because it helps the researchers pull out important information in a fast and organized way.
While I knew what hashtags were prior to this semester, I was surprised at the level of detail and diversity there is in social tagging. I suppose I knew why people used hashtags, but had never really put too much thought in it beyond an interest in using them for conducting social research (yes...remember, I'm a nerd). With vast amounts of content being created on social media each and every day, finding a way to organize this information is critical and that is where our new vocabulary words come into play - "Ontologies" and "Folksonomies." I hope you have a great week!