I’m not the best at naming things. I was going to call this post “A Blog By Any Other Name”, but then I saw Rowan got there ahead of me! Darn, that was a good one and now I’m stumped again! This of course is more or less what usually happens when I have to name anything, say a character or a blog. I ponder, I agonize, I reject a bunch of so-so ideas that occur to me, I come up with a good one somehow… then I find someone’s got there ahead of me anyway and I can’t have it!
Names are Important!
According to Shakespeare:
What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet
No doubt he’s right, but what about a blog? Names are a big part of the first impressions of a blog, at least for me, and do affect how likely I am to read it, and what expectations I bring to my reading. It’s true that after I’ve gotten to know the blog the name won’t matter so much.
Ideally a blog’s name along with its design (fonts, pics, colors, layouts etc) will help to express the blog’s personality and topics. If the name and style chimes with me, that’s often a good indication that the content will too.
Let’s talk about some great names and why I like them:
- Bio Break – It’s a common MMO term, so it clues me in that the blog is about MMOs and MMO culture. Also given what the term means it sounds like the blog doesn’t take itself too seriously, and is friendly and approachable.
Contains Moderate Peril – While I’m not familiar with the exact phrase it obviously comes from some rating system for movies or games or such, and you easily can imagine what kind of movies or games would contain moderate peril! Sounds like it’s going to be about genres that I like then. And the playfulness of the title leads me to think the posts will have a touch of humor too.
I Have Touched the Sky – I like the poetic phrase with its hint of sci-fi and fantasy. I scratch my head to figure out why it seems familar… then work out it comes from a Star Trek Original Series episode title. Anyone who likes TOS and that episode is probably going to be my kind of guy, and I want to check out what they have to say.
Since I like names of that kind, you might wonder why I didn’t choose something like that for my own blog. I wonder that myself, and I can’t remember! Probably I couldn’t think of anything I really liked along those lines. At least not anything that wasn’t already taken on WordPress.com. I do remember I had to pass up several ideas because of that, but I don’t now remember what those ideas were.
I settled on Thinking Play for a number of reasons. Firstly I used to think a lot about the games I was playing, from what made them fun or not, to their communities and culture, to the business angles etc. The blog was going to be a place to put those thoughts into writing.
Second there is a kind of pun or set of multiple meanings there. Not only is it thinking about play, but the kind of play I like calls for enjoyable thought, so maybe the topic is actually “play that involves thinking”. On top of that, thinking tends to be fun for me, so thinking about anything is a kind of play. I also believe that playfulness is crucial for any kind of creative thinking, serious or otherwise. So the blog is also a playground for having fun with kicking around ideas. I don’t imagine anyone else picks up the various possible meanings I give to the blog title, but I like them.
Finally I wanted a fairly clear scope for the blog, but also a fairly broad one. My “playtime” is not all about MMOs or videogames, and I wanted to at least have a title that would allow me explore topics like for example gamification in life, or how grouping in MMOs compares to playing team sports. So “play” in a broad sense rather than just “games” was the idea.
If I had a do-over?
I’m pretty happy with the name I chose, but I do sometimes wonder about the scope of the blog and whether I should open it up to more topics and more styles of post. I might make a second blog to accommodate that.