Hashtag, Tweet, and Facebook

Knowing that I was thinking of writing a new blog, a friend sent me a recent article from TV Guide about an American baby girl who had been named Hashtag. If you don’t already know, a hashtag (which looks like this: #) is a way folks on Twitter refer to the topics they are tweeting about.

The same article mentioned an Egyptian baby girl who had been named Facebook and an Israeli baby girl who had been named Like. Apparently parents’ fascination with social media is causing them to pick names that reflect that interest.

I suppose it might be fun to dream up original or unique names related to social media, but coming up with a name that most children would be happy to live with isn’t easy, as I hope to demonstrate. As an experiment, I started making a list of the most popular social media sites and posed a simple question: How likely is it that a child would like to have any of these social media names as a first name?

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • MySpace
  • Google Plus+
  • DeviantART
  • LiveJournal
  • Orkut
  • Pinterest
  • CaféMom
  • Meetup
  • myLife
  • Badoo

After a quick look, I realized that most of the social media names combine two words, like face and book into Facebook or linked and in into LinkedIn. The ones that only use one word, like Badoo and Orkut, sound a little more like names, but not much; what’s more, they aren’t particularly pleasing.

My next question was: What can someone interested in social media learn about baby-naming from the names of these sites? Let’s return to the idea that many social media names are combinations of two words, such as my and space. I posed this question: If both those words were names—for example, a first and middle name—might it be helpful, in baby-naming, to combine the first and middle names like Facebook, MySpace, or DeviantART?

I plucked the first name and middle name combination of Grace Olivia out of thin air and decided to explore different ways of combining the names to give them a “social media twist.” Here’s what I came up with:

  • Graceolivia (like Facebook and Meetup)
  • GraceOlivia (like LinkedIn, MySpace, LiveJournal, CaféMom)
  • GraceOLIVIA (like DeviantART)
  • Golivia (like Pinterest)
  • graceOlivia (like myLife)

I can’t see how any of those options are much of an improvement on Grace Olivia, can you? So let’s try another experiment and look at a variety of social media sites that suggest naming options worth considering.

  • Tweet (for Twitter fans): A cute but silly name. The poor girl is likely to be called Tweety Bird or Birdbrain. Not a happy thought!
  • Link (for LinkedIn fans): Not bad, but I’d prefer Lincoln, a proud name that would give the parents and child the option of using Link as a nickname.
  • Changing Dexter to Dextr (for Flickr and Raptr fans): One of the better ideas I’ve found by looking at social media names, but likely to be misspelled by 99% of the people who hear the name. How annoying!
  • Wizz (for Goodwizz fans): A catchy name; too bad “taking a whiz” is something boys do to water trees when a toilet is too far away to be worth the effort.
  • Crunch (for Crunchyroll fans): Crunch is a name I’d give to a powerful wrestler who’d take pleasure in twisting my arm into a pretzel if I looked at him funny; but I wouldn’t give it to a baby boy who hasn’t learned how to make a fist yet.
  • Add “ster” to common names to get Brucester, Chuckster, Rickster (for Friendster fans): Believe it or not, when I was in my thirties, I was called Brucester at a squash club where I used to hang out. I liked the name, so it’s a reasonable option—and, given a choice, I’d spell it Brewster. Before we finish considering the “ster” idea, I hope you’ll agree it’s a good way to come up with a nickname that would be fun to use in a macho environment, but it doesn’t give us “cool” names for baby boys, as far as I can tell.

I could go on, but by now I hope you’ll agree that picking a popular social media name for a child doesn’t work very well. And looking for names with a social media twist takes time and doesn’t seem to yield many results worth considering. If you want to make a splash with a potentially unique and charming name that your child and his or her friends will like, try looking at a menu in a posh restaurant (and consider Brie—but not Gorgonzola) or looking at a road atlas (and consider Carolina or Dakota—but not Hoboken or Oshkosh). Or spin a globe (and consider Siena and Chelsea—but not Turkey or Greece).

© 2013 Bruce Lansky
All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced without proper notice of copyright.

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