WhatsIn AName? Social Network Naming Conventions Revealed

An example of a social network diagram.Image via Wikipedia

I've been meaning to post this for awhile, hence using January data from a February Compete.com blog post, but after someone was asking for my take on naming their social network, I wanted to see if there are certain patterns that jumped out. There definitely are, and I share them in the brief presentation below.

The top 25 social networks predominantly use names that are newly formed compound words like Facebook and MySpace (36% of the 25), real words like Twitter and Classmates (28%), and made up words (not appearing in dictionary.com) like Bebo and Ning (24%). There's a fourth category of names that are based on real words or are homophones – namely Friendster, Flixster, and Hi5 (12%).

What's also interesting to see is that social networks based on new compound words accounted for 66% of unique visitors and 88% of traffic in January. This is really more of a power curve / long tail effect.

Lastly, the biggest reason I sat on this and am not making this some big agency white paper is that the it's more of a human interest story. There aren't any brilliant take-aways here. If you're creating a social network around flowers, there is no reason that naming it TulipLane (a compound name) will make it fare any better than Tulips (real word), Wackachooku (made up word), or TwoLips (homophone). It's just a different way to look at something we tend to talk about quite a bit, whether the we means social media practitioners or Internet users.

Your feedback's welcome, especially as I may update this down the road or look at it from another lens if there's more to get out of it.

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2 thoughts on “WhatsIn AName? Social Network Naming Conventions Revealed

  1. I believe in the idea of keeping it simple, and staying away from being too cute especially if you don’t have the big branding budget.
    Having just gone through this exercise for MetsOrYankees.com, A) You might ask: You actually went through an exercise for that?, and B) I decided to just be very direct; the title is the topic. The first list included titles that ranged from historical references around NY baseball to fratboy inside jokes. In the end, it was be simple and also be easy for SEO and discovery purposes.

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