What does “social” mean these days?

We are in process of developing a campus-wide initiative at DePaul covering the areas of social entrepreneurship, social enterprises, social responsibility, sustainability, etc.

Today, several faculty members met for the second time to discuss what such an initiative might look like from an academic and programmatic standpoint. But one question kept coming up: what do we call it? Some people think that “social entrepreneurship” is the best title while others believe that it excludes corporate entities that practice social responsibility or sustainable business practices.

In any case, it got me thinking about how, in the past few years alone, the use of the word “social” has changed. In the past, we’d use social to describe one’s inclinations or interactions with others (mind you, I haven’t looked up the official definition…yet).

Today, I’d argue that it’s most commonly used to describe practices that relate to the world around us (social responsibility/entrepreneurship) and building relationships online (social networking).

Has it simply become another buzzword or is the definition being changed/refined?

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