Chances are you’ve encountered some, shall we say, interesting names for new babies of late. Now a new survey shows part of the reason is that some parents are choosing names for their kids with social media presence in mind.
A poll of 1,772 British parents revealed 72% of all respondents believe a unique name will help their child stand out from the crowd — and nowadays, that includes social media searches.
One in 50 say they chose a “made-up” name specifically for social media purposes. In the business world, that’s known as SEO, or search engine optimization.
All told, 7% say they’ve already bestowed a brand-new, never-heard-before name on their babies, and 65% say they’re considering doing so. Which is how we get names like Jaspin, Wrenlow or Tovin.
The survey was commissioned by the website ChannelMum. Its baby name expert SJ Strum noted, “Shakespeare invented many names that have stood the test of time, like Imogen and Jessica. Now the social media boom means we are all writers and publishers, so parents are making up baby names that gives their child a unique start in life.”
Then again, the average soccer mom or hockey dad ain’t Shakespeare — hence names like Jessalie and Elisobelle.
While the survey noted the popularity of the “made-up” names, 92% of the parents surveyed admitted that giving their child such a name could have ill effects. Two-thirds worried that an odd name will be hard to spell, 62% feared a name would be seen as “tacky,” and a third feared that their kid’s future teachers would give them some payback for a name that’s out of the mainstream.
As for other popular sources for unconventional names, shows like Game of Thrones remain an inspiration, with three in ten parents looking to pop culture as inspiration. Also popular are gender-neutral names, and names that are, like the Impossible Whopper, “plant based,” such as Cedar.
Here are ChannelMum’s top-ten “New Age Names” for boys and girls: