A blog is a website on which periodic entries are made by a person or a company, tagged, and archived. A tag is descriptive text assigned to a blog entry that helps to categorize it. It is customary to use multiple tags to describe a single entry in order that people searching for different types of keywords can find pertinent entries. A tag cloud is a way of displaying the tags from all blog entries, and one kind of tag cloud is a Flash® tag cloud.
A blog has several ways of revealing its focus. The title is one way. The design is another. The articles as a whole are a third, but once there is a large amount of material on the site and most of it is archived — often by month and year — the sense of the whole is hard to grasp. A tag cloud is created by a plug-in and draws from tags of all the articles that have been written, and helps give readers the gist of the site.
Tag clouds communicate in several ways. Inclusion, of course is the main one, but color and size are also used. After a blogger has contributed regularly to a blog for awhile, it becomes fairly difficult to fit all the tags in any reasonable space and/or read all of them. That’s where the Flash® tag cloud comes in. The Flash® tag cloud arranges the tags on a sphere, which the user can rotate by clicking near the cloud and dragging in various directions. In this conception, there is more “space” for tags, making them easier to see and click on if one wants to see the linked blog entries.
The Flash® tag cloud was developed as a WordPress® plug-in by Roy Tanck in 2008, and he originally just posted it on his blog, calling it “WP-Cumulus Flash® based tag cloud.” He provided a download after he’d developed it to his satisfaction, and provided instructions for people to repurpose it for HTML sites and other content management systems. An adaptation for Flickr®, a photo posting site, creates a cloud of image thumbnails.