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What's in a name?

18 January 2017 | Jess Seal

“What’s in a name? that which we call a rose

By any other name would smell as sweet”

Romeo & Juliet

Romeo’s infamous question ‘what’s in a name?’ dates back to the 1500’s when the play was originally performed, and it’s a question that resonates with us even today. But in the modern age of social media, and with the world’s population rapidly growing, the name game has drastically changed. 

When creating a social media account, be it on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn (the list goes on) we’re asked for our preferred profile name. More often than not, when typing in our first and second name, we’ll be greeted with a message saying something along the lines of ‘this name is already taken, please choose an alternative’. We will then grudgingly add some numbers or an underscore into the profile name in order for it to be accepted – who knew there were so many Jess Seal’s in the world?

With this in mind, when we’re on our preferred social media channel, hoping to tag a friend, brand or group into a specific post it can be hard to find the person you’re looking for, and now that we’re living in this fast paced, digital world, it can often be the case that we tag the wrong friend, brand or group due to their profile name, not as you expected!

This is something that dear old John Lewis from Virginia, USA, experiences on a daily basis. As you can imagine @JohnLewis is contacted most days by British shoppers complaining and querying orders directed at the well-known department store.

Mr Lewis has become famous for his patient replies to those mistaking him for the famous retail giant. You could spend hours looking through John’s Twitter wall, checking out his witty and light hearted replies to many John Lewis customers – and I recommend you do so!

On 12th January for example, John Lewis was asked “are you as popular for Valentine’s Day as you were for Christmas?” to which John wittily replied “I’m VERY popular on Valentine’s Day, but for a completely different reason.”

John clearly has a lot of fun with his Twitter and now has over 22 thousand followers, but on Sunday (15th January), this all changed for John after he began receiving racist tweets from a mass of Trump supporters. This came after John Lewis, one of the leaders of the civil rights movement in the 1960’s who is now a Politician, criticised Donal Trump. The now US congressman spoke against Trump, saying that Russian interference in his election delegitimises his presidency and as a result, John’s twitter was inundated with Trump supporters aiming abuse at the US congressman.

John Lewis, the Twitter legend (as he shall now be known), decided to ignore these abusive tweets and simply posted “Depressing day. 90% of misdirected tweets today were racist rants, which I did NOT redirect or reply to.”

John Lewis dealt with the Twitter rampage over the weekend in an extremely well respected way by flat out ignoring those who were abusive and I truly hope the negativity dies down so he can get back to his witty tweets with the retail store, and having some fun.

So, dear Romeo, it turns out you were wrong – there really is something in a name…well, when it comes to social media anyway.