Five years ago, I used a Google Form to ask friends, family, and random readers of my blog to help us pick a name for our first-born child. Before I knew it, it was picked up by some other blogs, then news sites, then suddenly I was doing radio and TV interviews. We ended up with over 10,000 votes from all around the world. Two months later our daughter was born, and the Internet had helped us pick the perfect name – Athena.
While it was certainly fun to be on TV and show off Google Forms, the best part of the experience was seeing all the great positive energy my little baby name project created. People seemed to really enjoy this story of a geeky Googler asking the Internet to help name his kid, and were excited to vote, discuss suggestions, and pass the story on.
We are expecting again and we’d like to harness some of that positive energy for something more meaningful. We are raising money for Save the Children so we can bring our new son into the world while helping kids around the world.
My wife and I (along with some other Googlers) have pledged to donate $1 for each vote – see details in the FAQ. For $1, Save the Children can provide one complete polio vaccination course for a child. Just by voting, you will be helping a child in need. If you would like to join us and donate $1 of your own, please go to this OneToday campaign. Google OneToday makes donating to a good cause easy and fun.
If you’d like to help us name our baby and support a great charity at the same time, please vote on the Google Form (see below). If you want to follow the votes and find out which name ends up on top, please go to my blog or follow me on Google+ or Twitter.
And if you ever need to name a baby of your own, I highly recommend Google Forms. Setting up a form or survey is easy, and the results are automatically put into a spreadsheet for you as they come in.
Questions? See the FAQ post or leave a comment below.
Ann and I ended up in the news again today, this time in a New York Post article about Twitter. I used Twitter to send out updates on what was going on during labor. I’m probably not the first to do it, but it’s an interesting use case for an article like this, aimed at introducing some new tech that’s been popping up more and more in popular culture.
But when I noticed the accompanying photoillustration I had to post this screenshot. Notice anything a little off?
Click here to see the full-sized screenshot. The caption text seems to imply that it’s a photo of Ann. For those of you who don’t know us personally, Ann’s not actually a white person like miss stock photo here.
Thanks to the well over 10,000 people who voted in our baby name poll, we’ve chosen the perfect name for our new baby – Athena Marie Morrison.
Those of you who have been following this story might be a bit surprised at the name choice, since Olivia was leading the poll for girls’ names. But the very, very few readers who managed to make their way through my boring (but educational) statistics posts will remember that Ann and I controlled for popularity, hoping to pick a name that was loved by our voters but still reasonably unique and interesting.
We took three names that our voters liked better than could be explained by general popularity in 2007 – Cassia, Ada, and Athena – and waited to see which name would fit her best.
Since our baby was born with her eyes open, perceptive and looking very thoughtful, we thought it was appropriate to name her for the goddess of wisdom.
Thanks again to all the family, friends, Googlers, and random internet strangers who voted.
If you’d like to keep following Athena’s first days on the planet, you can follow me on Twitter.
For photos (a few now, and hundreds more as soon as we get home), feel free to friend me on Flickr.
If you’d like to read more about web design, usability, and doing crazy social experiments with the internet, please subscribe to my blog feed or subscribe via email.