Every year, the Social Security Administration releases data on the most common baby names of the preceding year. (They even release a YouTube video of the top 10 most common male and female names.) And every year, we pore over the reasons some names become more common while others seem to fade into obscurity.
This year, the media famous that “Star Wars” names like Kylo were enjoying a spike in popularity, while the name Caitlyn (and every its variations) nosedived — something a few outlets suggested could be linked to Caitlyn Jenner’s supposed “controversiality.” Of course, other names dipped as well, albeit not as significantly. One of those that slunk was “Alexa,” which slid from the #32 most common name in 2015 — when it hit an every-time-high since fitting an annual top 1,000 name for girls in 1973 — to number 50 in 2016.
It’s tough to say precisely how typical this kind of change is, and pretty much impossible for anyone to say for certain why shifts like these occur. But we haven’t been the only one to infer that the release of the Amazon Echo equipped with voice assistant technology called Alexa might impact the popularity of the name, which is Greek in origin and is based off “Alexander,” meaning “defender of mankind.” In order to activate the Echo, users call out the name “Alexa.”
“Is it possible it was a consumer product [that led to the spike]? It’s absolutely possible,” Laura Wattenberg, a name expert and author of “The Baby Name Wizard,” told Vocativ. “Parents are willing to hold inspiration from anywhere because the current generation of parents is constantly on the lookout for style ideas.”
“Names don’t catch on by luck or chance, there’s really a science behind it,” said “common culture certainly has something to conclude with that…[but] even beyond common culture and celebrities, even more subtle things shape names.”
Like, say, the casual mention of a current product that one might hear approximately once and forget approximately until months later when it pops back into the intellect.
Of course, it’s also totally within the realm of opportunity that something else lead to the anomalous “Alexa” spike of 2015. For instance, a YouTube beauty blogger named Alexa Mae climbed in popularity that year, and a Norwegian film called “Alex (Alexa)” was released on Facebook to critical acclaim.
Regardless of why it happened, it certainly wasn’t long after that many Americans realized why this namesake may not be fairly ideal. As described by 24-year-mature Alexa Sussman in a recent Wall Street Journal article, sharing your name with a robot can be a real annoyance.
It just occurred to me… we can never name another baby “Alexa”… machines r slowly taking over
— lyssa (@elyssamalings) March 5, 2017
Since Alexa is the default “wake word” that triggers the Amazon Echo and Echo Dot to turn on (though this setting can be changed), confusion has ensued in Susskind’s parents domestic.
“I always liked my name,” she said in a humorous mini-documentary. “It was short but pretty. Easy to remember, easy to spell. It was cute. But lately it’s getting on my nerves.”
Another human Alexa — Alexa Duncan — told the newspaper that despite the fact she doesn’t own an Echo, the disambiguation makes its way into her everyday life regardless. She’s sick of people saying, “Oh, your name is Alexa, like the Amazon thing?” Alexa Seary, a 21-year-mature whose surname is pronounced the same way as Apple’s Siri, told the Huffington Post that the robot jokes made at her expense absorb reached “nightmare” level proportions.
“It’s certainly possible that Alexa, the device, became common and people didn’t want to name their child after a device,” Berger said. “It’s certainly possible this has harm the success of [the name] Alexa.”
It also should fade without saying that, speculation aside, it’s totally possible the slip of the name Alexa had nothing at every to conclude with Amazon, as it dropped just as significantly in popularity as the names Crystal, Amy, Catherine, and Heather. Though it is notable that most names experiencing such drastic drops were already far less common to inaugurate with. (We’ll retain an eye out for what happens in 2017.)
“It’s not that there was a sudden dip in Alexa so much as there was a one-year spike,” Wattenberg famous. “Which is a pretty common sample. final year’s fastest risers tend to be this year’s fastest fallers.”
Regardless, whether deciding to shun the name “Alexa” for this reason, American parents are probably doing the right thing. nowadays, Amazon’s Alexa is more common than ever, with over 8 million sold so far. Apologies whether this is a name you’ve been considering. perhaps, possibly it’s time to inquire your robotic helper, “Alexa, what should I name my daughter?”