I recently attended my high school’s 25 year reunion. What I found most amazing was that I didn’t recognise some of the faces of people until I looked at their name badge. Luckily, that memory jogger made their features suddenly recognisable.
Despite most of the women being married and having taken their husband’s surname, only their maiden name was on their badges. If it had been just their married name, I think many people would have been very confused, and as few people brought their partners, that omission didn’t really matter. It turned out to be a great night and there was lots of laughs and reminiscing. Many of us said we couldn’t wait till the next reunion, so we better catch up on Facebook.
What is thy name, fair maiden?
So, the next day I went to Facebook to look up some of these people. The men were easy to find, the women not so much. It turned out that nearly all of the women were using their married names but I didn’t know what they were. Thankfully, some of them found me first and, while I didn’t recognise the new names coming in the Friend Requests, I did (now) recognise their pictures. From there, I was able to slowly find other people from the reunion by looking through the Friends list of all the new people I was adding.
However, if so many of us hadn’t made an effort at the same time to find each other, this would have been a much more difficult exercise. Indeed, I have tried to find women I knew from my younger years but in the end, have just given up because without knowing their new last names, I may as well be looking for a needle in a haystack.
And what about if you don’t know someone’s full name, but you do know their nickname? Somebody who I was friends with at university introduced me to one of his friends at a party. I was told his name was “Check”. I eventually found out his real name was Robert and Check was an abbreviation of a long, difficult-to-pronounce last name. But, try searching for the name “Robert” in Facebook! Without a last name, its just another needle in a haystack.
It would be so much easier if…
Wouldn’t it be great if you could use your official name in Facebook, but also add alternate names that people know you by such as nicknames and maiden names? Well, it turns out you can and there are 2 ways of setting it up.
The first way just shows your alternate name whenever people do a search. The second way does the same, but also shows it on your timeline and on any friend requests you send.
Here’s how you do it
Here are Facebook’s official instructions on how to add a maiden name (or other alternate name) to your Facebook account.
- Click the account menu at the top right of any Facebook page.
- Choose Account Settings.
- Find the Name field and click Edit.
- Enter your alternate name.
- Check Include this on my timeline to have your alternate name listed on your timeline, show up next to your name in search results and in any friend requests you send. Otherwise, if left unchecked, it will only help people find you in search.
- Save your changes.