A good friend of mine recently wrote a piece about his experience with "Dopplenamers," a.k.a. people who share your name. He offers a hilarious and somewhat sobering take on how it feels to interact with dopplenamers on social media.
His article (and my father's constant rants about internet privacy) inspired me to look myself up and find my own dopplenamer, and I discovered something unbelievable: I am not the world's only Laura Sommerville. Shock! Horror! I found that most Laura Sommerville's were regular women, but one stood out: The Queen of Slap. That's right. There is a Laura Sommerville living in London who makes her living as a professional makeup artist and beauty Youtuber, with the nickname "Queen of Slap." (I'm pretty well versed in beauty terminology, but I still don't understand slap.)
I watched a few videos, read a few tweets, and browsed her Instagram. From what I gathered on social media, she seems like a successful, confident, nice person. Still, there is a part of me that is uncomfortable sharing my name with a stranger. My last name isn't common, so I have a weird sense of pride and protection about it. It sounds ridiculous, but we place so much importance on our name. It is one of the first words we learn, it is the first thing we tell to people we meet, we use it to give ourselves and others credit, the list is never-ending.
With the rise of social media, our public identity is even more focused on our name. We craft creative usernames for different social channels, we carefully curate posts knowing that they'll be tied to our name, and we're aware that a simple Google search of our name will unearth our online identities. But even though our generation struggles with maintaining individualism online, I thought that finding my dopplenamer was a humbling experience. If anyone wants to put their social media presence into perspective, I recommend finding your own dopplenamers.