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Choosing Web 2.0 Baby Names

Henry Elliss
Henry Elliss
Managing Director
5 June 2008

Untitled1 As regular readers may know, I will shortly be extending my social network by a very significant extra body, with the birth of my first child at the end of June. As somebody new to the whole process, I am struck by how difficult it is to choose a suitable name for my unborn progeny. But it occured to me this morning that this task is made even more difficult by my social networking friend list.

Now let’s be honest – unless you’ve got your heart set on a name already, one of the factors that will influence your decision is what people you know, and whether or not you’d be happy to unwittingly bridle a child with the name of somebody that you are perhaps not that fond of. My wife is a teacher, and they have it even worse than most of us, having seen over 2,000+ children wander through her workplace in the past 5 years. But most of us will be limited to the people we know on a day-to-day basis, any maybe school chums. Tamar for example has around 80 members of staff, which limits my choice by a small amount – don’t get me wrong, I am very fond of all them, but don’t want them getting a big head if I name my child after them. But even 80 is fairly minimal, especially seeing as I already know the sex of my unborn child, so that knocks off half of them. Plus, I doubt we’re unusual as a business in having several people with the same name – numerous Sarahs, Jess’, Robins and Neils to name but four. So it’s not that bad really.

However, browsing through my friend list yesterday, it occurred to me that I now have a LOAD more mental name associations than I ever used to have. Combine my Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn contact list and I have over 600 names which I have a mental association with. Not only that, but for a good proportion of them I am also regularly faced with their middle names. Worse still, any of them with children will inevitably mention their names regularly too. Nobody wants to be the person who chooses a baby name that their friend has only recently chosen for their child too – as a guy with a reasonably unpopular name, I have come to appreciate uniqueness over the years!

So what is a guy to do? I guess most sensible readers will probably reason that I am worrying too much about this, and they’re probably right. However, I also realised this morning that I’m in a lucky position as my top three favourite baby names haven’t actually been sullied by associations with any of my 600-odd Facebook or MySpace friends! : ) I haven’t taken the time to check many middle names or offspring, but that should at least give those of my colleagues who are dying to know my favourite names something to think about…

Besides, my wife will probably get the final say anyway – I have learnt that arguing with pregnant women isn’t wise. So what will our child be called? I guess only time will tell….

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