Does a name matter?

To some yes; to others no; to some, it’s everything; to computers …

I recall a conversation with a friend who was in sales for a living and he indicated that you can mess up a lot of things with people but if you remember their name, you can be forgiven. I found it to be pretty good advice and I keep notes about people I interact with and review it if I know that I’m liable to run in to them again. Wow, he remembered my name!

Of course, if I interact with them enough, their name comes forward in my memory and I don’t have to rely on my crutch.

Recently, a lot of people are changing their names on social media for political or just for fun purposes. A guy who does it regularly for fun is Terry Greene. He’s currently running with the alias Scary Greene to mark the month, I guess.

I note the name changes in particular when I’m doing #FollowFridays and pause to wonder “who is this?”.

From a computer perspective, even I have changed my name. It’s not nearly as creative as Terry’s work but the change in font could be confusing to some.

That 14 point Arial or whatever Twitter uses as a default is just a bit boring so, equally as bored, I sat down and changed it one day. Regular readers will know that that turned into a blog post because, well, that’s what I do.

This morning, I read about a couple of big changes for our future. File these under “Things formerly known as …”

Introducing Google Workspace to help you get more done

So, Workspace will replace what we currently know as G Suite.

Microsoft Bing: the search engine that gives back

I remember Bing before when it was “because it’s not Google”.

So, with all these examples, changes have been made for branding purposes. (or fun and boredom in Terry and my cases). All of them still work because the actual name doesn’t mean much to your computer. It’s the actual address that really counts for your browser.

So, Terry can rename himself all that he wants but to my browser, he will always be known as If he ever changes that, I’ll be in real trouble. He’ll be missing in digital action.

What happens when the actual address changes? It happened around here.

My old employer used to have a home domain at but changed it. They’re now Go to the former address and you’ll find that it’s for sale. So, if you want to become a school district, go for it. Go to the latter and you’ll find where they’re currently conducting business. Around the same time, the local Catholic District School Board registered Instead of being home, it actually redirects to the real home at Either address gets you to the same spot. No dead links here.

It’s all so fascinating and makes for a great discussion about internet addressing with students. Unlike real life where your name is so important, the internet doesn’t really care. It’s where the actual address takes you that truly matters. I find that my searches are more successful when I have an inkling of the actual URL instead of searching for the name.

There can be so many Doug Petersons (and there are). Here are a few.

But there will always only ever be one

Published by dougpete

The content of this blog is created by me at the keyboard or as a result of an aggregator of my daily reading under the title OTR Links. On Fridays, look for my signature post "This Week in Ontario Edublogs" where I try to share some great writing from Ontario Educators. The other regular post appears Sunday mornings as I try to start a conversation about things that have gone missing from our daily lives.

5 thoughts on “Does a name matter?

  1. This was a really interesting post, Doug! I have thought a lot about names before, as I was never sure if I should make my name Avivaloca or Aviva Dunsiger on Twitter. I chose to include my full name, as I want others to know my actual name, not just my Twitter handle. Sometimes I wonder though when others don’t list their actual name, should I call them by it if I know it? Or if someone doesn’t include a name, what do I call them when I meet them in person (if this ever happens again)? It feels awkward to me to know Twitter handles, but not names. I wonder if others feel the same.


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  2. That brought back a memory of an ECOO conference a while back, Aviva. Alec Couros was the keynote speaker and many of us who were on the conference committee were having an informal gathering that included Alec. For some reason, I was late (which is not like me) and Rodd Lucier gave me a personal introduction to him as courosa. I’ll never forget that moment; it was different and yet knowing Rodd to be the great connector, it did make sense.

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  3. I just checked and found that I was one of 10 “Alfred Thompson”‘s on Twitter. I was surprised. Of course I am the only AlfredTwo.

    My blog actually has two addresses and Having my own domain as the more public address makes it easier, in theory at least, to move blog hosts without having to notify a bunch of people.


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