What’s in a name

My name is Mark, I have three children named Eloise, Lauren and Oliver. They may or may not know this, but we chose Eloise because it was(at the time) pretty unusual, beautiful and feminine. Yes, there was that Barry Ryan track in the 1960’s but that wasn’t why. Then there was Lauren, another beautiful name, recalling classical beauty and sophistication, and yes, there was Lauren Bacall. And Oliver, classic name, we both had a joint friend with a lot of style and a great attitude, so Oliver it was.

Given your name

  • Would another name would have changed things?
  • Would you have been more/less successful?
  • Would people have treated you differently?
  • Do you get targeted differently by  google, facebook and social media ads?
  • Does your name actually say more about your parents?

Well it turns out that one of my favorite podcasts have dealt with this, and you’d be surprised with the result.

Levitt and Roland Fryer argue that a first name doesn’t seem to affect a person’s economic life at all.Harvard professor Latanya Sweeney about a mysterious discrepancy in Google ads for Instant Checkmate, a company that sells public records. Sweeney found that searching for people with distinctively black names was 25% more likely to produce an ad suggesting the person had an arrest record – regardless of whether that person had ever been arrested.

Even Levitt can’t really account for the future, how will you child be judged based on the “baggage” todays names carry? – Listen to the full show here.

2 thoughts on “What’s in a name

  1. Such an interesting thing to consider. Tenille is rather unique and is thought by some to actually have black roots. My ads are about long distance calling and running stuff. Really I just know that I will never find my toothbrush or place-mat with my name on it. My personal opinion on naming is that it matters but more to the person that has it.

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