Gamal Ibrahim, an Egyptian man living in Cairo, welcomed a new daughter into the world this week. Did he give her a traditional Arabic female name like Leila, Rania or Hend? Nope, Mr. Ibrahim named his baby daughter: "Facebook."
Yes, you heard me - he named his daughter "Facebook." Not Facebook.com, just Facebook.
Now, before you start making jokes about this choice of name -which I will do later in this article-keep in mind the long list of ridiculous names Americans have bestowed upon their children, such as Gwyneth Paltrow's daughter named "Apple," or illusionist Penn Jillette's son "Moxie Crimefighter," and then there is actor Rob Morrow who astoundingly named his son, "To," so that his full name is "To Morrow," and, of course, we can't forget Jermaine Jackson's child, "Jermajesty."
All of a sudden, "Facebook" is looking a lot better.
So why did Mr. Ibrahim do it? Is naming your child after a popular social media website a part of Arab culture? No, I'm Arab-American and I can assure you that I don't have a "Cousin MySpace" or "Uncle Twitter."
The reason he chose such a unique name for his daughter is actually very noble: He wanted to honor the role that Facebook -- the media website, not his daughter -- played in fueling the recent revolution in Egypt.
While not common in the US, in other parts of the world, people have historically named children in honor of triumphant events occurring at the time of their child's birth. For example, during last year's soccer World Cup in South Africa, a woman there named her baby "FIFA," as an homage to the organization which governs the World Cup. While another South African woman named her child "Soccer City," after the stadium where many of the big World Cup soccer matches were being held.
In America, thankfully we don't name our children after big events occurring at the time of their birth, because if we did, there would be a lot of recent newborns with names like: "Jersey Shore," "Dancing with the Stars" and "Charlie Sheen just got arrested again."
But I will be honest, Facebook is a challenging name for a child. She might get picked on in school a lot by the other kids -or even worse: poked. (I know you were waiting for at least one "poked" reference.")
And what will young Facebook's nickname be, "Face," making her sound like a character from "The A Team." Although as an infant, her nickname might be "Baby Facebook"- which does sound pretty cool.
However, if I was going to name my daughter after Facebook, I would have tweaked the name to make it more feminine sounding, such as "Facebooka" or "Fecebooke." Either of those names conjures up exotic, attractive women. The name "Facebook" makes me think of Jesse Eisenberg from the movie "The Social Network," not an attractive mental image for a woman.
But there are benefits to the name Facebook. For example, everyone will know how to spell her name. Plus she will likely have the most friends in class- albeit, they will mostly be Facebook.com friends.
Also, on a personal note, when I was a child, all my friends could buy toys with their names pre-engraved on it, like those mini license plates or key chains. Not me. There were no trinkets with the name "Dean" on it. I felt left out. In contrast, young Facebook will have tons of things with her name on it.
Plus she should look at the bright side - with her father committed to honoring Facebook, he could've named her "Mark Zuckerberg." Let's be honest, "Mark Zuckerberg Ibrahim" sounds worse than "Facebook."
To me, though, Facebook would have been a better middle name than a first name for a girl-"Leila Facebook Ibrahim," actually sounds pretty good.
Overall, I can understand why Mr. Ibrahim was swept up in the excitement of the revolution and wanted to give his new daughter a name that honors a new Egypt. I hope that young Facebook is able to grow up in an Egypt that offers her all the opportunities and freedoms that her father dreams for her. And maybe one day, when Facebook grows up, we can be friends, or at the very least, Facebook friends.