What Babies Named Facebook and Hashtag Say About Social Media

February 2011: Facebook is born. Not the site, but the baby girl, named in honor of the role the social network played in Egypt’s recent revolution. December 1, 2012: Hashtag is #born. Again, this isn’t the Twitter topic symbol, but a little eight-pound girl. These names aren’t very surprising considering the number of social media users: 500 million use Twitter and one billion use Facebook. With massive numbers like these, we’ll likely see a few more social media-inspired names going to babies.

While these names may seem amusing, they have something to say about the current state of social media.

Remember the, shall we say, unique names that came out of the countercultural movement of the 1960’s? Actor Rainn Wilson’s name would fit in this category. In fact, there are whole lists available of so-called “hippie” names (Hashtag doesn’t seem so far-fetched compared to Tangerine Dream).

The names coming out of this movement reflected what Americans cared about at the time—from noble pursuits such as Peace and Freedom to the more basic pleasures found from Sunshine and Tuesday. And this is what these social media-inspired names tell us about its current state in our world. Mainly, these names reflect a great love of social media.

Granted, little Facebook and Hashtag are the exceptions when it comes to baby names, but I’m sure little Rainbow and Windsong were the exceptions at one point in the early 60’s. Could these social media-inspired names be the beginning of a trend similar to the counterculture names of previous decades? Time will tell. In the meantime, social media continues to grow, and its impact on our world continues to evolve, one groovy step at a time.

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