Best Practice

Digital Tribes I: Naming

By Alison Aldridge-Saur,

This report is part of the Digital Tribes bundle.


This report is the first product of the Digital Vision project, an effort to help new thought leaders get their insight out into the digital marketing world.

Digital marketers have spent the better part of the last decade studying trends in media consumption, and many analysts have made comparisons of social media platform users to tribes. Phrases like “neo-tribe” and “digital tribes” have, in some corners, become popular descriptions of the individuals who have banded together in groups and built communities around communications software. 

But, what is a tribe? How do they work? And what can digital marketers learn from studying them? Digital Vision grant winner Allison Aldridge-Saur argues that three distinct elements are necessary for a tribe to form: Language, Culture, and Organization. Each of these “Tribal Pillar” will be explored at length separately over the next few months. 

Digital Tribes I: Naming begins the series by introducing the concept of tribes, offering a brief history, and exploring some tribal digital communities of the present before exploring the topic of how names are vital to the identity of online communities. This report examines the construction of private languages, jargon, symbols, and naming practices for communities, individuals and events.

Table of contents

  1. Introduction
    1. The Word “Tribe”
    2. Definition and a Wee Bit of History
  2. Tribal Pillars for the Digital Space
  3. The First Pillar: Language
      1. Jargon Language
      2. Symbolic Language
    1. Naming
      1. Tribe’s (group’s) Name
      2. Naming Individuals
      3. Naming Events


  • Pdf Disabled Digital Tribes I: Naming (403 KB PDF)

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