Naming Your Baby in the Internet Age.
Your grandparents had it easy when it came to naming babies. If they liked their name, they could do what pretty much everyone else is ye olde times did, and just name their kids the same thing. Don’t like your name? Your mom or dad probably had a cool name, try that one. These days, if you’re expecting (or just fantasizing about your future with your high school crush), you’ve got more things to think about. Your future offspring needs more than a name, they’re going to need a brand.
Step One: Browse your browser.
When bookstores still existed, past generations would start the search for potential baby names by grabbing a book full of ‘em. For you, the journey starts by getting online. Whether or not you need inspiration isn’t what’s important, though. You need to make sure your baby’s name isn’t already taken.
Before the Internet, you only needed to make sure your kid’s name wasn’t already taken by someone already in your family or by any well known horse thieves. Your child is coming into a world full of people who are doing awesome things on an Internet that doesn’t forget anything. If you name him John Smith, he’s going to have a hard time getting any traction (especially if he winds up being an explorer). Spend some serious time searching for the name ideas you’re kicking around. Ideally, you will choose something unique enough that future employers, prospective partners, and high powered talent agents can easily find when it comes time for your little angel’s big break or meet cute.
If this is hard (there aren’t many good names left, people) we recommend following the advice of rappers, indie bands, and Canadian hockey player Shjon (that’s pronounced Shawn) Podein, and just make up some ridiculous spelling no one has used before. There’s no easier way to get to the top of Google than creating a totally unique string of letters.
Step Two: Be really, really sure.
There’s nothing worse than sending something to print that you’ve spent hours on, only to have a co-worker find a typo in the first five seconds they look at it. Now imagine that happening with your kid. There’s a whole big world of pop culture, niche businesses, and obscure movies you may not have ever heard of. Pick a couple people with opinions you trust, grab the list of your top few contenders, and workshop the hell out of what you’re planning on calling your heir.
Here’s the thing about your baby’s name: you are going to get used to it. You’ll say it a dozen times a day for forever, and it’s eventually just going to lose all meaning other than “hey, that’s my kid.” People who meet your kid in the future aren’t going to have that luxury. If you love the name already, you’re already too close to it. Get a second, third, or fourth opinion so you make sure your daughter doesn’t get weird looks when she hands someone her future business card.
Finally, throw that name into a search engine one more time. You might think you came up with something super unique but it turns out there was already someone named Amelia Dyer, and that’s not the first thing you want associated with your little angel
Step Three: Lock it down.
Got a name you love? Make sure no one else gets it while your little baby’s growing up. As soon as you’ve made a decision, buy that kid a domain name. We always recommend a version of FirstnameLastname.com, but FirstnameMiddlename.com may work just as well. The domain name is most important, but it’s not everything. Also grab a Twitter handle and Facebook username and be sure to reserve your baby’s brand on any new social platforms that pop up during the 13 years between their birth and the time they can legally join most of these sites (with your permission, of course.)
If you go to the work of coming up with an awesome name, you need to make sure that your offspring can take advantage of all your hard work by being the person with that name on the Internet.
That list isn’t everything you need to consider when thinking about baby names, but it’s a really good start. Feel free to consider things like emotional attachment, cool-sounding names, ease of spelling, and references to your favorite fictional characters. Other than that, though, the best way to approach naming a baby might be pretty similar to the things you’d think about if you were launching a new website, company or app.
Hmm. There’s probably a blog post in that somewhere...