What’s in a name?

I have been wondering recently if the name of this blog, Social Thoughts, is still relevant or valid.

When talking about 'social' in the context of the web we are normally referring to social networks - the mainstream players like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram - but I haven't been writing about them very much lately.

But then I remind myself that being social on the web is far more than engaging on these networks or silos.

Being social online predates the web, just go back to bulletin boards where people came together in one place because of a mutual interest or purpose, communicating and sharing over impossibly slow dial-up connections.

Then we had forums and chat providing a multitude of ways for people to connect. They were actually the social networks of their day - predominantly enclosed "spaces" with specific rules and access requirements.

And then came blogging.

Eli took my framing of the subject to be that "the indieweb is more social network-y than the big-name social networks because those are each self contained" - and outside them the network is more, perhaps, genuine. Maybe he's right.

Maybe it's just that the openness grants us certain affordances that the more self-contained networks never could.

But what of social thoughts?

Originally this was just meant to mean my thoughts on social - simple and clean. Over time, however, it has taken on a new dimension.

Our thoughts are our most private of things; in internet parlance they are like the posts of a single member in their own silo - inaccessible to others.

A lot of them we wouldn't want to share, and rightly so, but it's no fun only playing in your own sandbox, and we are inherently social animals. We want some of our thoughts and ideas out there, we want them exposed to an audience.

And that's where social comes in.

Just look at the etymology of the word: social is derived from the Latin socialis and socius meaning ally, friend, companion. By sharing our thoughts we are seeking discourse with our intellectual allies, those with similar beliefs and ideals, those who can appreciate or build on them.

We seek to become part of something, whether as the seed or the gardener, looking to grow our thoughts and ideas into something useful, meaningful.

So, while I may not frequently write about, or now even engage on, social networks I am being inherently and deliberately social.

The name still applies, albeit in a different way.