How Technology Is Changing Baby Names


How Technology Is Changing Baby Names

There are many new factors for parents to consider when naming their babies.

How Technology Is Changing Baby Names

Parents take many factors into consideration when choosing a baby's name from trendiness to family history to cultural significance to sound. Now even domain name availability is a point of consideration either.

The domain name exemplifies a broader trend that’s influencing the world of baby names today: technology.

Technological advancements have expanded parents’ worldviews when choosing baby names, brought up new factors to keep always in mind, promoted the rise and fall of specific names and generally revolutionized the way that parents make this decision.

An Online Community

“One of the biggest effects of technology on baby names is opening the door for a giant community around choosing a name,” Pamela Redmond Satran, a co-founder of the popular baby names website Nameberry, said that . In addition to a large database of name ideas, trend lists, daily blog posts and a name generator tool, Nameberry offers a popular discussion forum too.

“Expectant parents can also ask for opinions on forums, build polls asking people to vote on their names, trade ideas and debate the ins and outs of specific names,” Satran added. “The online community is so perfect for this, as people are not personally invested in your choice of a name, the way a family member might be, and are often more knowledgeable and more objective on the merits (or not) of a name.” Other popular online resources include Baby Name Wizard and the Social Security Administration’s websites.

The Rise And Fall Of Siri And Alexa

The tech world also plays an important role when it comes to the popularity of specific baby names. maybe the 2 biggest examples of this phenomenon are Alexa and Siri.

Amazon announced the Echo, along with the virtual assistant Alexa, in November 2014. That year, Alexa ranked 63rd on the Social Security Administration’s popularity's list, with 4,245 baby girls with that name. In 2015, Alexa climbed up to No. 32, with 6,050 newborn Alexas.

This jump is consistent with the theory that publicity around a name, whether positive or negative, causes a fast increase in popularity. However, the following years tells a different story. In 2016, Alexa fell to 51, with 4,766 baby girls given that name, and in 2017 it dropped to 65, with 3,883.

How Technology Is Changing Baby Names

Siri followed the same path. Apple introduced with iPhone 4S with a beta version of Siri in October 2011. That year, 103 baby girls were named Siri, and in 2012, the number rose slightly 108. But in 2013, the number of newborn Siris plummeted to 42 and has steadily decreased every year ever since. In 2017 only 20 baby girls were named Siri.

“As with any first name that becomes closely associated with a brand, the effect of technology on these names has been really negative,” Satran explained. While the Amazon Echo and iPhone may have given those names a small, brief boost, they’ve ultimately become less popular.

Tech-Inspired Names

Beyond Alexa and Siri, there have been many news stories about tech-inspired baby names from parents around the world for example Hashtag, Facebook, Google, Vista and even Like.

Online there are countless lists of tech-inspired baby name ideas, including Apple, Pixel, Packard, Tesla and Stylus. And BabyCenter’s suggested that video games like “Fortnite” might be affecting parents’ baby name choices.

The Domain Name Question

Technology coming also into play in the baby name decision process as many parents consider the factor of domain name availability.

A 2018 research survey found that as many of 20% of millennial parents polled said that they changed or seriously considered changing their baby’s name based on available domain names at the time.

How Technology Is Changing Baby Names

In 2014 a software engineer created an online tool that would allow parents to explore baby name options based on domain names that haven’t been purchased.

“It’s important to give your children a fighting chance of having good SEO (Search Engine Optimization) in the 21st century,” co-creator Finbarr Taylor said that after launching the tool. “We use search engines all day long to answer our questions and find things, including people. Imagine being called John Smith and trying to get a ranking on Google search. It’s important to give your child a unique name so that people, like potential employers, will be able to find them easily in the future.”

It’s also quite common for new parents to secure their children’s social media and email addresses at birth.

The Creativity Boost

Another major way technology has affected the baby's names world is simply by making more interesting and unusual ideas more widely known.

“Technology has encouraged parents to be more adventurous in their choice of names by making a wider range of names readily available,” Satran said, noting that books are more limited than the internet.

“When we published The Baby Name Bible, we were restricted by sheer number of pages from including more than 50,000 names and writing a sentence or two about each. Now we have more than 70,000 names we’ve been able to gather from all corners of the globe, including thousands of names we simply would not have been able to find before.”

Satran said that she believes that technology has allowed more niche categories for baby name inspiration to come into broader consciousness, thanks to experts sharing their knowledge on topics like mythological figures or members of royal families of the past.

Most baby's names trends come and go, but it appears that, like technology itself, the influence of technology on baby names is destined to persist.




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