“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.” -Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass

Do you spend too much time on Facebook, or Twitter, or Google+? Well take heart, because there’s a new app called Unsocial, which might be just what you need to wean yourself from your social networking addiction. Except it’s not. It’s actually a social networking app.

The Name Inspector was quite surprised to learn about this name, and wondered what would lead someone to think it up for an app that helps you meet people. After all, a person who is “unsocial” is someone who doesn’t want to be around other people. Isn’t this a bit like calling your paper towels Mess? Or your encryption software Expose? Yes, it is.

The tagline for Unsocial is “It’s not who you know. It’s who you need to know.” This location-based app helps you meet people who match your specified criteria when you’re hanging out in a hotel lobby, airport, or some other public space. So in a way it’s not merely about being social–it’s about being downright extroverted.

Re-purposing the word unsocial to name this app is just wishful thinking. It doesn’t say “go beyond social”. It says “I’d rather just stay in my hotel room and watch HBO”.


4 Responses to “Unsocial: Not what you think it is”

  1. on 05 Aug 2011 at 8:56 am Greg S.

    The name is intriguing to me. How better to define something than define it by what is is not?

  2. on 05 Aug 2011 at 11:09 pm John Humphrey

    And a .mobi at that. Sad.

  3. on 16 Aug 2011 at 1:09 pm lamvanlee

    why on earth do people use such names?

    I once knew a software company that was called Hiccup Software!

    Wish more people would think before naming their companies and products.

  4. on 10 Aug 2012 at 10:46 am Jim

    Wow, I love how you called it “Re-purposing” of the word. I know what they were going for but perhaps it was a really bad choice for their site.

    Fun can be had with re-purposing but this is not it and their tag line is just awful!

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