I'm just wondering if you might have a minute (or about 10) to chat with me about baby naming in the 21st century (the "baby background check")
1. How much online research do you think parents do about baby names nowadays?
2. Do you advise expectant parents to google the names they're considering before they actually decide?
3. In the pre-internet days, it was hard to tell if someone had the same name (especially someone of ill repute) but it seems that can be accomplished fairly easily, with a few google searches. Do parents think about this when they are considering possible names? Have you heard of any parents who changed their minds about a name after googling it? (maybe they found out that their baby name was a porn star or a reality star or just someone with a ton of google results?)
4. Do you advise parents (or hear about parents) reserving their future baby names URLs, signing them up for a Facebook account, getting them a Twitter handle or a blog?
5. Have you ever heard of parents ditching a name because the URL was taken already? ("Oh, I can't get JohnDoe.com - we'll have to name the baby James!")
6. Any other thoughts on the subject of babies and social media?
Thank you so much!
1. The huge number of online baby-naming resources/forums makes me think parents must be doing a lot of research online. I used baby name books to make lists, and then looked up the finalists online to check for "name interactions" (i.e., characters from TV shows). I also looked up names on the Social Security Administration website to check popularity of names.
2. I do think it's a good idea to search online. It saves a lot of "Oh, like from _____?" surprises. A friend of mine named her son Sawyer after finding it in the surnames section of a baby name book, and was displeased afterward at how many people thought she'd gotten it from the show Lost---which she'd never seen. I think it's also a good idea for people with a child or children already to search for combinations of sibling names: sometimes two names sound so good together, and you realize only later that there was a reason for it (such as a celebrity couple or two characters in a popular book). These things might not be dealbreakers, but it's nice to know beforehand rather than to get it as an unpleasant surprise after the baby is born.
3. Sure, we've had some baby-name questions where the parents say they were going to use a certain name and then discovered someone famous (or a famous character) had that name, or even the same first/last-name combination. We've also had questions where the parent was planning on a name (Kate, for example), and then the sudden publicity of someone else with that name (Kate Middleton, for example) causes them to rethink it.
4. I don't see any reason for parents to rush to sign their infant's name up for Facebook and Twitter and blog URLs. I wonder if this happened more in the earlier days of the internet, when it seemed like such a thing would be more important? I remember various lawsuits over people trying to get money out of celebrities and business by buying up those URLs, but that seems to have died down. Also, I think the focus is turning away from "grabbing dibs" and toward protecting our children online and keeping their actual identities separate and safe from their online identities.
5. Ha ha! No, I've never heard of parents choosing a different name because that name's URL was already taken.
If you have time, perhaps you could give the columnist more answers to work with. If you can, include the number of each question you want to work on, to help her organize the information.