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The Name Game

06 Jun 2005

There are a lot of anagrams and new terms describing web development techniques, technologies and social networks. This has peaked my curiosity on how these terms came to be. There are a few relatively new terms that are quite fresh, such as AJAX coined by Jesse James Garrett of Adaptive Path, but others such as “blogoshpere”, “designosphere” and “designologue” that are a little more ambigious to me. So I thought I'd investigate. Let's start with…

Blogosphere

This is one of the most popular phrases in the blogging universe, at least the blogs I read and probably some of the same ones you read. I guess it's time for a little research. Let's look it up in Wikipedia…

According to Wikipedia, “[t]he term was coined on September 10, 1999 by Brad L. Graham, as a joke. It was re-coined in 2001 by William Quick (quite seriously) and was quickly adopted and promulgated by the warblog community.”

So, that's how it started. Also according to Wikipedia, “Blogosphere (alternate: blogsphere) is the collective term encompassing all weblogs or blogs; blogs as a community; blogs as a social network. Weblogs are densely interconnected; bloggers read other's blogs, link to them, reference them in their own writing, and post comments on each other's blogs. Because of this, the interconnected blogs have grown their own culture.”

OK, now we know what a blogosphere is and how the term came to be. The real question is why that name? Our buddy Bill took a literal meaning of the word from the American Heritage Dictionary, and really why not.

“the root word is logos, from the Greek meaning, variously: In pre-Socratic philosophy, the principle governing the cosmos, the source of this principle, or human reasoning about the cosmos; Among the Sophists, the topics of rational argument or the arguments themselves.”

Sure, a literal meaning of a funky word and all of the sudden it's law [I know it isn't but honestly have you heard it called anything else?]. The unfortunate thing about that name is that it's gimmicky. It capitalized on pop culture and the name callers managed to make their spot in history. Talk to anyone currently in the “blogosphere” and I'm pretty sure they'll shudder at the mention of the word.

Admittedly though, a name that sticks around for 4+ years has got either have something going for it or no other options. My opinion for this particular phrase is the latter choice.

Designosphere/Designologue

Moving on. Designophere and designologue kind of go hand-in-hand so lets conquer them together shall we. Since it worked so well last time, lets see what Wikipedia has to say about these fine derivatives. Oops, Wikipedia doesn't have any information on designologues or the designosphere.

Okay, what about the big G? Let's see, it seems as thought there are about 6,000+ websites in the Google index that mention designologue. The top of the list is Designologue.com and they define the term as such:

“A designologue is a conversation between two designers in the medium they understand best - design. Comparisons can be made to Coudal's Photoshop Tennis where two designers alternately modify the others image using Photoshop. But instead of one designer versus another, the two converse. No winners. No losers. Just good conversation.

Why designologue? Obviously it's just the MTV-style mashup of the words “design” and “dialogue” for those that haven't caught on just yet. [Don't worry, I didn't quite get it right away when I saw it for the first time either.] Out of all the other possibilities that could have been possible this particular name is very catchy and just seems to be the right fit. Because the website is targeted towards designers and it's an overall small, tight-knit community (about 800 or so as of this writing) I haven't heard — or read — any complaints about that particular term.

All done

Now I feel a little bit better about being able to use some of these catch phrases and terminology in my everday life. Hopefully at least 1 of the 2 people reading my rambling found this interesting and educational. Overall this has been a fun exercise for me and I'll probably be doing it again. [Just a little forwarning for those that may want to skip such future posts ;o)]

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