Marissa Mayer Creates Parenting Trend: Crowdsourcing Your Baby Name




According to a recent article from People magazine, Marissa Mayer, the Googler and now CEO of Yahoo, sent out a large group email to friends and family seeking name suggestions for her newly born baby.  The process, a form of crowdsourcing, is becoming the hot trend with hip moms and dads for naming their baby.  “Traditional baby name books and research sites are a thing of the past,” says Lacey Moler the co-founder of Belly Ballot, a website that lets parents invite friends and family to vote for their favorite names.  “Today’s parents are very social beings.  They want to share important parts of their lives with friends and family, and personal decisions are no exception.”

Crowdsourcing, which means soliciting feedback from many people, has seen growing popularity over the last 5 years. Thanks to the rise of social media, more personal interactions can now take place online fostering rapid collaboration and decision-making. Up until now though, it’s been largely popular with web design and financial applications, such as fundraising for noble philanthropic causes and businesses.  The growth of the phenomenon into personal lives though is what many have dubbed “the new frontier”.

Belly Ballot is no exception. After launching their website in July of 2012, the website had over 1000 parents register to crowdsource their names with friends and family.  Following registration, parents posted invitations on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest, to solicit real feedback on the names they’ve chosen.  “We created Belly Ballot because we saw that many elements of our personal lives are coming to the surface via social media.  It’s a growing trend, and we expect the growth to continue into all aspects of parenting.”

Not everyone is excited for the change though.  Privacy advocates and traditionalists believe that something as important as a baby name should remain a personal decision between two parents.  Rather than sharing every aspect of one’s life online, they cite safety concerns as a strong reason to keep certain portions private.