When Dave and Lindsey Meske found out they were having a baby girl, Crystal Lake couple simply couldn't agree on a name. Dave hated Lindsey's choices--McKenna and Addilyne--and Lindsey hated Dave's choice--Emily and Madelyn.
After days of stalemate, Dave did the next logical thing: he asked for help. Not from a brother or a sister but their entire social network via Facebook. He posted a poll on his profile with the four names and encouraged his friends to vote.
"If celebrities are naming their children things like Moon, Star and Apple, why can't we use Facebook to name ours?" Dave Meske said. "What's the harm in that?"
Dr. Joseph Ferrari, a social psychology professor at DePaul, said putting a child's name up for a vote on Facebook may be the latest manifestation of a community naming ritual.
"The sense I'm getting is that the parents are ignoring their responsibility, but then again people used to let the tribe decide on a name," Ferrari said. "To someone of my generation this might seem like the wackiest thing, but this is an age of technology we're in."
The Meskes not the first people to turn to social media for assistance in choosing a child's name. In March 2010, Jenn Marsh, a professional photographer in Ontario, posted a contest on Facebook asking people to offer their best baby names. Within a couple of days Marsh had more than 500 suggestions and those who submitted the top five names won a free photo session with the expectant mother.
Yet such a naming process could present problems later in life, Ferrari said.
"It's a name for life," he said. "Are you comfortable with with telling her at the age of 14 or 24 how she got her name?"
Meske doesn't believe he is foregoing any sort of parental responsibility by creating the Facebook poll.
"It’s all in good fun," he said. "It’s a story we can pass along once she’s older and we all get a kick out of it."
Lindsey went along with the stunt because the name she liked most, McKenna, started to garner the most votes.
"She’s been lobbying her friends and family to vote for McKenna, and when she started to see that happen she became much more okay with it," Meske said.
The Meskes said they are 100 percent committed to the results of the poll, which they will keep posted on Facebook until the child is born. Lindsey's tentative due date is in early January.