Monday, March 17, 2008

Name Calling

Do you know someone called Aaron in Second Life? Or maybe Charles, perhaps Pablo, Rob or Ace? According to this website those are the top five most popular names in SL.

I have to admit that I don’t know anyone carrying those names, but most of the people I know are women. And maybe that is why, while browsing down the 50 name long list I also noticed: These are all guys!

Okay, there are one or two that might be sort of unisex (Echo placed at 7, liam at 13, JJ at 14, Angel at 41), but all in all we go from A as in Aaron (and Adam and Axel and Andrew) not quite to Zach (because he doesn’t get on the list) but down it goes through Chads and Ryans and Oscars and Charlies. Not only are the names predominately male, they are – with a few exceptions – predominately Male WASP names that you’d find on the role call for a white middle class high school somewhere in Ohio.

For what it is worth, Aaron comes in 45th in a list of popular boys names 2000 to 2005 for the United States that I found, whilst the leader of that list (“Jacob”) doesn’t even make a showing here. Number two on that list (Michael) shows up here at 26th. On the other hand. Aaron is apparently quite popular in California and in the Bay Area where Linden Labs has its sit. I'm not one to start any conspiracy theories, but that is just too much coincidence for my tatstes.

But back to the list. I must be going to the wrong places. The people I meet are called Zara, Sophi, Serentiy, Masako, Harujuku, Heidi, Madelaine, Tab… not to mention the very enticing, cleverly chosen and brilliant in it’s conciseness Tia. But if this list of male names is anything to go on, I should actually know Emilys, Ashelys and Hannahs. I don’t – and not for lack of trying.

This, and a quick test of trying to register a new Avatar as “Aaron something” (It was easy… I spent more time finding a combination with Eaton that was accepted) leads me to believe that the site’s statistics are just plain wrong.

And that pleases me to no end. I like all the Moonbeams and Daggers and Bloodfangs that populate SL. Sure they or TLC (standing for “Tender Loving Care”) would be hilarious in Real Life – unless Tender rapped in a band – but in SL it’s okay. I think people shoudl give themselves names that sounded vaguely, well... insane. Or at least vaguely French.


Anonymous said...

Waduhminut! Out of the 50 most popular names listed on the website, I reckon at least 30 are male names. What does this tell us, please? That sn contrast to RL, the ratio of the genders favours the single-but-searching female? Or that women are using typically male names for their aves? Hmmmmmm.....