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Mackenzie and Ayden? That's so April 2012: Start-Up Tracks Real-Time Baby Name Trends
Parents prefer real-time trends from social media over annual reports
AUSTIN, Texas, Dec. 5, 2012 /PRNewswire/ - Popularity trends are a huge influence when it comes to naming a child. For decades, parents have solely relied on the annual Social Security Administration report to see which baby names are truly the most popular in the U.S. The problem though, is that by the time the data is published its already outdated. That of course is all about to change. Lacey Moler, the cofounder of Belly Ballot, a social startup that combines social media with baby names, is going to start publishing live naming trends as users submit them. "Today's social mom and dad want to know exactly what names are being used in their community, across the country, and around the world in real-time. No one wants to wait around for an annual report." says Lacey. "Just as live Twitter data has changed how we receive information, baby names trends are no exception."
Since it's formal launch in July of 2012, Belly Ballot has had tens of thousands of parents interacting with friends online. Parents start by selecting their top name choices for their Belly Ballot, and then inviting friends and family to vote via Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. All of this activity on which names are being selected and supported from across the globe provides a huge opportunity for tracking popularity trends. Belly Ballot has then come up with a proprietary method of gauging the live popularity using close to 15 factors from the social interactions.
For the initial report, data was collected from over 1000 Ballots, 5000 selected names, and 10,000 votes. A summary of the data is posted on their blog here, and a sample of trending names over a 16 week period from July to October:
Girls: Audrey/Aubrey, Riley, Aria, Brooklyn
Boys: Landon, Caleb, Jackson (Jaxton, Jaxon, or Jaxen), Ryder
Girls: Olivia, Makenzie, Skylar, Sophia
Boys: Ethan, Elijah, Liam, Gage, Bentley
Girls: Savannah, Ava
Boys: Michael, Noah, Owen
Girls: Emma, Zoe
Boys: Brayden, Kaden, Jaden
"It's amazing to see how quickly popular names like Sophia, Makenzie, and Noah are moving downward. It happens quickly sometimes. Some of the most interesting insights include the influence of names in pop culture such as celebrities and TV show characters. For example, you can definitely see an uptick trend when Megan Fox named her baby Noah." The key though with names influenced form media are how long they stay popular, and if they truly 'stick'. As one can see with the name 'Noah' from Megan Fox and Brian Austin Green, the name sparked some interest but quickly petered out. It wasn't enough to keep the popularity going.
Lacey says the current data is just the tip of the iceberg. "We plan on releasing a dashboard with live data in the very near future. It will offer far more interesting ways to view the data including popularity by geography (your state, country, etc.), trending spellings for a given name, by origins (i.e. 'Latino http://babynames.net/all/spanish' or 'Persian http://babynames.net/all/persian') and important cultural inflection points. There's a lot more to come." In the meantime, the data will be released on the website blog at http://babynames.net/blog at weekly and monthly intervals to provide parents with a pulse of what's happening.