I’ve been using the term threads lately. Then Christopher asked me whether that meant simply topics, which it does. Immediately and instinctively, I heard alarm bells ringing in my head: Had I succumbed to a cliché or jargon?
I seem to have picked up the word thread from the blogosphere, for which it seems uniquely suited. Many bloggers weigh in on any number of topics. But organizing disparate posts within each topic becomes a challenge, given that a blog is one single stream of posts mixing all topics together. (Tags help, of course.)
So the word thread seems perfect. Why? Because it’s an old idea for, in effect, exactly that situation.
The Sanskrit word for thread is sutra. It comes from the same Indo-European root that gave us to sew. But ancient Yogis and Buddhists and Hindus began using it as a metaphor for stringing (sewing, threading) together aphorisms into a coherent and larger whole.
Hence Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, or the much more famous Kama Sutras (excerpt above), or any number of other high-minded thought-constructs around a given topic of interest.
So, the term seems to fit. A post is really an aphorism, and a blog is really a clew of threads. (Feel free to cry foul if you smell a cliché, but it works for me. Indeed, I may rename this blog The Hannibal Sutra.)