Naming an intranet: a philosophical view

Naming an intranet is rather like naming a book or a child. It can be fun, it can be frightening, but of course the book, child or intranet matters much more than the name.

Homer. The Daily Insider. Connect. Infonet. Insite. Wisdom Network. Sherlock. Tiggle. Inflo. OpusWeb. Nexus. The Hub.

The best intranet name is specific to a particular company. What the rest of the world thinks is completely irrelevant: they’ll never see it! So it’s pretty hard to get tips from outsiders on how to name your intranet. Instead, you’ll be looking for something relevant to the organization and meaningful to the staff.

(Naturally, as an outsider and a poet, I relate best to Sherlock, Tiggle and Homer.)

I’m also remembering a story about 5-year-old John Lennon. Apparently his class was to publish its own newspaper, and the children were all suggesting names such as The Daily Telegraph and The Times. (News of the World, anyone?) John Lennon wanted them to call it The Strawberry, and to the teacher’s consternation that’s the name the kids chose, overwhelmingly.

Hmm, I’m not saying what I’m really thinking. Which is: you can’t please everyone, but in the end it doesn’t matter much.

Your friends name their baby Chickity-Hello. When you hear the name, you die a thousand deaths. But in no time flat, you love that baby girl and can’t imagine her called Susan or Jane. You either grow to love the name Chickity-Hello, or you just take it for granted.

Out in the big bad world, Chickity-Hello will face some problems socially and professionally—unless she is a musician. But the intranet never need venture outside of its cosy family of 53 or 530 or 53,000 employees.

Let’s face it: you probably won’t have an intranet named Homer or Sherlock or Chickity-Hello. You will have one called the equivalent of Jane or John. And that’ll work. It’ll be fine.

Or as Craig Roth says, ‘But would not a personalized, well-integrated, well-architected intranet by any other name look as sweet?’

Did I really write that? So tolerant! I must be getting old.

Intranet naming (Gartner, Craig Roth)
Intranet names: ideas (Buzzle, Shashank Nakate)
What’s in an intranet name? Turns out a lot. (Intranet Connections, Carolyn Douglas)

Image of baby: used by every baby-naming web site in the world; copyright holder unknown.

Rachel McAlpine
Rachel McAlpine


1 Comment

Richard Heath
Richard Heath

July 21, 2011

Very true… I find people tend to put too much focus on naming but usually this is because it is one of the few things that are tangiable and well understood about intranets. People can relate to a name prior to understanding exactly what the value proposition is, which makes it more of marketing tool than anything else.

Quirky names tend to generate click throughs and that’s half the adoption battle won.

Think of how people scoffed when Twitter emerged…and look how much it has taken off (partly because of people sharing their scoffs with others)

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