The Internet: Making it Easier or Harder to Find Baby Names?

If you haven’t been Googling your top baby name choices, you may want to start.

The Wall Street Journal published “You’re a Nobody Unless Your Name Googles Well” two days ago. Here’s an excerpt:

In the age of Google, being special increasingly requires standing out from the crowd online. Many people aspire for themselves — or their offspring — to command prominent placement in the top few links on search engines or social networking sites’ member lookup functions. But, as more people flood the Web, that’s becoming an especially tall order for those with common names.

I’m not sure that the “Google factor” matters quite as much as the article implies, but I do think the internet is making us much more baby name-savvy than we used to be. For instance:

  • It is forcing us to realize realize just how many people are out there, and that puts pressure on us to choose names that stand out — especially in the virtual world.
  • It is taking away any excuses parents once had in terms of ‘accidentally’ naming a baby after someone hugely famous or infamous.
  • It is giving us easy access to baby name popularity rankings (from all over the globe), and these rankings not only show us past and current data, but help us predict the future trajectories of individual names.
  • It is helping fuel specific baby name trends, such as the skyrocketing popularity of the name Nevaeh and the male “-ayden” names (e.g., Hayden, Jayden, Cayden).

So the internet gives us tons of information… but is this always a good thing? What do you think: in terms of choosing a baby name, does the internet make things easier, or more complicated?

(For more blogosphere commentary on the WSJ article, try BloggingStocks, WebProNews and Freakonomics Blog.)

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