What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;

Wanderli.st is the name on which I finally settled for my social web contact management tool. It took me over five months to come up with something I liked, and it might have been longer had I not used it as my project for the 1-in-1 event during ITP’s 30th Anniversary Celebration, thus imposing a deadline on myself.

I want people to be able to wander freely between the different social web services on the Internet, I want users to leverage custom dynamic lists of their friends when creating relationships on new services, and I want to make existing social relationships more portable and manageable than they are now.

I needed a name that was short, memorable, descriptive, somewhat clever, and not already commonly used. I initially wanted a .com, but relaxed that requirement in favor of choosing a name that was reasonably Good, since pretty much every .com imaginable is being squatted. I think I should be pretty well-off in terms of trademarks and SEO, and perhaps I’ll have the funding (haha) to buy the proper domain around the same time as I’m ready to expand my userbase beyond those familiar with non-standard TLD’s.

The temporary name I used back in May was Constellate, and other ones that I’ve especially liked from the process were Netropolis, Tag, Telegraph, SocialLava, Cloudship, and Relationshift. I had columns of words that had names like ‘social words’, ‘movement words’, ‘group words’, ‘gathering places’, ‘infrastructure words’, ‘vehicle words’, and ‘elements’. It was not an easy task.

THANK YOU SO MUCH TO EVERYONE WHO HELPED! It looks from the Google Spreadsheet revision history like Wanderli.st first appeared on September 6th — if anyone remembers suggesting it to me around that time, let me know and I’ll give you credit here :)

(The title of this post comes from the global find-replace syntax in the text editor Vi.)