Wednesday, December 15, 2010

About teenage "name nerds" and generations

Recently Nameberry had a blog post on teenagers (past and present) and their opinions on names. If you look around on many name forums you will see that quite a few of the frequent posters are teenagers (especially teenage girls; guys of any age like me are usually in the minority by a large margin). The teenagers' opinions also provide a clue at what kinds of names might be popular 10-20 years or so from now when they are having kids of their own.

These teenage name enthusiasts also provide a clue at generational changes with name styles. Since they are younger than most of the actual parents or expecting parents their seeking names, at certain times their style may clash some with the older members. Right now not as much, since today's teenagers are later Millennials with most of the twenty-somethings being earlier Millennials (expecting parents mostly being divided between Millennials and Gen-Xers). When I was a teenager myself (about a decade or so ago) it was different on the forums of the time; the division was between early Millennial teenagers and (mostly) Xers of child-bearing age. However, that also clued those who are "name nerds" at the upcoming trends. It may get interesting again in a few years when the oldest Homelanders (Strauss and Howe's tentative name for the new Adaptive/Artist generation) start joining the forums and giving their opinions.

If you look at some of the old articles on S&H's site from the late 90s/early 00s, you will see how they try to separate the reality in teenage culture (the early Millennials) from what those a bit older (the late Xers) often protrayed it. Right now that "clash" is not as big since it is between waves of the same generation rather than those on different sides of a generational boundary. A decade or so from now it will once again be between those a few years apart but in different generations (Homelander teenagers vs. later Millennial twenty-somethings). As I said in the above paragraph, a similar pattern appears in the teenager vs. young adult name discussions.

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