Thinking of names for our future children is one of my and my wife’s favorite pastimes. It’s right up there with the “what I would do if we won the lottery even though we don’t play the lottery because it’s a tax on people who are bad at math” game.
“What do you think of Belle?” one of us will ask.
“Sounds too similar to the insipid Twilight character,” the other will respond. “How about Nick?”
“No way… I went to school with a kid named Dominic and I saw him eat a bug one time.”
And so on and so on.
One condition I have with any name we consider – a condition my wife thinks I’m joking about even though I’m quite serious – is the name must be unclaimed.
What does that mean?
It means the domain name and Twitter handle are available.
So, let’s say my wife falls in love with the name “LaQuisha.” If the domain laquishaduncan.com or the Twitter handle @laquishaduncan are unavailable, the name goes into the reject pile.
Crazy, you say? Yeah, crazy like a fox.
Remember when you were younger how aggravating and confusing it was to have a neighbor, cousin, or classmate with the same name as you?
“How can that kid be named Kevin? I’m Kevin!”
Teachers would call your name, but they didn’t mean you. They meant the impostor – the kid with the stupid head and stupid face who stole your identity.
In today’s world where virtually everyone is online, it’s even worse. There are thousands and thousands of people who share your name. Heck, there are quite a few who share your full name.
How can you stand out? Well, for starters, you call dibs on your name.
Register that domain. Reserve that Twitter handle (and Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, etc.). Claim your name before one of the impostors beats you to it.
“But what if my name is already taken by one of those stupid impostors?” you ask.
Do you use your middle name or middle initial? Those can separate you from the pack, so use them. I’ve learned to embrace my middle initial (“J”) for this very reason.
If you’re still having trouble, try using dashes or – in Twitter’s case – underscores. Use a nickname, if applicable.
Your name is your online brand. It’s your identity. It’s your calling card. Once you’ve settled on one, snatch it up everywhere you can. Try one of the many name checker tools available to make the process easier.
Of course, if you happen to have the last name “Duncan,” you probably shouldn’t bother. I’ve already registered every conceivable name on behalf my children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
Sorry about that.
Creative Commons Image via Natalie Maynor.