Etymology is the study of the origin of words and the ways in which their meanings have historically developed. In understanding the meaning of words, their origins, and their application to our lives, we begin at the root of the word and dissect it. “Photography” for instance is derived from the Greek photos - for “light” and graphos- for “drawing.”
Applying these same rules to our modern, online vocabulary, we can discover the deeper meanings of social networks use every day. Most titles or names seem self-explanatory at first glance; “Pinterest,” “YouTube,” and “Facebook” for example. We are so familiar with these networks that we gloss over their true meanings and functions.
As with most modern technological names, Facebook does not follow the traditional patterns of name origin. But, by dissecting the word, perhaps we can derive a new meaning applicable to our online selves. The website began as ’“facemash” which derived from the nickname of Harvard student directories. When the site launched the second time it was renamed “The FaceBook,” which we all know now as “Facebook.”
If we apply the same logic to the word Facebook, dissecting it, the first word being “face” deriving from the Latin word facies- for “appearances”. The second word being “book” deriving from the Latin word codex, meaning the modern equivalent of book carved into a "block of wood".
In applying etymology to our online reputation, we can see that Facebook could literally mean carving our appearance in a block of wood. While this may not be as permanent as carving into stone, the basic gesture of carving has a significant impact, especially when it comes to our reputation. We are carving our online reputations. Therefore it is vital for us to remain consistent and constantly aware that we have an appearance to consider, not only of ourselves, but those we represent, and those who represent us.
The physical layout and design of your online self, on Facebook or other social medias, is vital. The initial appearances found online mimics the first impressions we often experience in person. Managing an online reputation can be exhausting and time consuming, especially when there are countless networking sites already demanding detailed management and more sites coming into popularity each day. While Facebook may seem like a fun pastime, or a way to keep in contact with old friends, and distance family, it is also a valuable tool in which we can carve our onlinereputations.
Summary: In applying etymology to our onlinereputation, we can see that Facebook could literally mean carving our appearance in a block of wood. Therefore it is vital for us to remain consistent and constantly aware that we have an appearance to consider, not only of ourselves, but those we represent, and those who represent us.