At a recent presentation I attended on Social Media, one of the speakers noted that just as “we” did a few years ago with adding “e” in front of everything (e-commerce, e-business etc.), “we” are now doing it with “Social.”  Of course the skeptic in me thought, no we aren’t.  I mean there is Social Media, Social Worker, Social Studies, Social Class but what else is there?  After a 5 minute search on the web, I now realize we are a lot more social than I originally thought. Here are just are a few of the terms I found:

Some Social Terms

Social Networking Social Policy
Social Psychology Social Contract Theory
Social Responsibility Social Constructivism
Social Law Social Development Theory
Social Investment Social Media Monitoring
Social Media Ambassador Social Learning
Social Recruiting Social Etiquette
Social Technologies Social Gadget Developing Tool
Social Capital

Really what do some of these things mean?

Does adding the word “social” in front make them that much different if we didn’t add social? According to the American Heritage Concise Dictionary, Social means: living together in communities or groups. As I perused the web trying to find a clear cut meaning of the use of social when added to something else, all I could find was the same thing, the use of Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.   So I guess because I check my sons’ Facebook pages, I’m social parenting and when a friend asked peoples’ opinions on Facebook about an iPad versus a Xoom he was social researching?

We seem compelled to over use a term, just because it has popular connotations. There is probably a time and place to use the word Social to increase the impact or to provide a clearer meaning.  Recruiting used to be about finding and placing eligible employees now Social Recruiting is  when companies and recruiters use Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and other social media sites to source and recruit candidates for employment[i]. Networking and Social Networking are two related, but slightly different things, but networking is networking.  How it is done doesn’t change the fundamental meaning of it.  Social Etiquette was another social term that gave me pause, shouldn’t etiquette be etiquette?  I’m not sure how adding social here makes or changes its original meaning.

For someone like me who gets confused and overwhelmed easily, I think we should use some discretion when adding to our already complicated lives or maybe I’m just a person who just isn’t very social.

[i] Definition from About.com