In what would prove to be a controversial move, the idea of someone taking a Facebook group’s name and branding it on another group had unleashed a firestorm of opinion and ethical debates. For about three days, people who were active participants in one popular group were at each others’ metaphorical necks over the legitimacy of duplicating names. While some people argued that name duplication was equivalent free riding off the hard earned success of better established social media communities, others argued that no one had monopoly rights of names on social media sites. What started as a simple ‘FYI-there’s another player in town’ post quickly escalated into a war of words. Like a modern day battle field, alliances were identified and enemy lines were clearly marked. You were either with the originally named group or a traitor-a sympathizer to the duplicate camp.
I watched in bewilderment as the verbal guns were un-hoisted from keypads across the globe. I could not believe that despite our advances in modern technology, we were still clueless when it came to social civility and decency. The difference in opinion was one thing; the name calling was quite another. In what I assumed was a digital gathering of grown-ups, the latest online debacle had turned into a classic case of playground justice. This time, the bullies were those who could spew out the meanest, baddest, and ugliest names and brandished them on whoever dared crossed them.
Fortunately internet sensations die down as quickly as they rise up and in a matter of days, the raging social media war was over. People from opposing camps either made peace or just got tired and stopped arguing. Social order was organically restored back to its former self.
Life was back to normal, and this post-battle state got me to thinking: do names really matter afterall?
For example, your name is Radiance and you and I happen to bump into each other in a busy village square.
I say: ‘Hi Radiance! Pleasure to meet you!
So you say hi back.
And I’ll probably say: ‘It’s funny I bumped into you, because I know three other Radiances! One is my cousin (very hardworking), the other is my work mate (such a pain in the behind), and the third is a Bollywood actor (who doesn’t know that I exist, but I hope to have children with one day).’
Radiance: The name shared by three men who share the same name tag but have totally different personalities and characteristics.
What makes one Radiance stand out from the other?
What makes you stand out from the rest of the billions of other people who share the same name as yours?
What makes me, ME?
We may have duplicate names or have mirror-like appearances; we may come from similar towns or share similar beliefs; we may even share the same biological and cultural DNA, but I believe that ultimately what we give to the world is what makes us unique.
Whether it is your sense of humor, or your giving spirit, or your trademark perseverance in the face of trials, the output of your spirit is what sets you apart from the billions of others who share the name as yours. Names are really just a bunch of strung up letters that form a word; anyone can string A and B and C to make ABC. But that special quirk that makes someone want to be with you just because you are YOU? Now that’s what makes you special.
Your name is never really your defining legacy. Your spirit is.