The Technology Review blog has an interesting post about social media. The author was surprised to find out that research has shown that people remembered less about an online article when they typed in "tags" to help remember key concepts than if they simply read the online article; in other words, social media doesn't always enhance experience. However, the same researcher investigated a tagging system called SparTag.us, which lets users click words in an article to create tags, rather than typing them in at the end. The idea was that SparTag.us would help users engage more with an article, but at a lower cost. She found that SparTag.us didn't reduce recall, and it enhanced a user's ability to recognize particular sentences.
The blogpost concludes that for social media to work for us, we need to enhance what it does right and reduce what it does wrong. It can be an amazing way to navigate an interconnecting Web of concepts and people. On the other hand, it can be horribly distracting.