There's a new twist on baby names: Make the process social.
Belly Ballot, a new social startup out of Austin, allows expecting parents to select their favorite names and invite friends and family to vote via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest.
Rather than relying on traditional baby name books or websites that parents have used in the past, Belly Ballot has a different perspective on what modern parents want. "Parents today are very social beings," says Lacey Moler, co-founder of Belly Ballot. "We love apps and sites that allow us to interact with friends on a daily basis. Important decisions are no exception."
Lacey, previously a private equity analyst turned stay-at-home mother of 3, first conceived of the idea at her baby shower in 2009. While looking for a fun way to include her friends and family on choosing the name, Lacey created handwritten ballots of her top 5 boy and girl names. After handing them out to the baby shower guests, they voted for their favorites and dropped them into the "Belly Ballot Box." The idea was an inspirational success.
"It was so amazing to see how excited and creative everyone was," said Lacey. "It brought the whole family together. I want families and friends that are thousands of miles apart from each other to be able to have the same experience."
Within the first few months of launch it appears that demand for social baby naming is becoming a hot trend. Thousands of parents have already created their Belly Ballot, and have begun sharing with friends online. Well known mom bloggers have praised the new startup, such as Nancy Oliveira of FitMamaEats: "If you're expecting and stumped on finding the perfect name, Belly Ballot is a super-fun way to search for cool names from all over the world and have your family/friends vote on their faves!"
There are concerns as well though. As social sharing sites like Belly Ballot grow in popularity, critics not only worry about the moral qualms of keeping the naming process private, but privacy concerns over social media. Renowned international privacy expert Rebecca Herold of RebeccaHerold.com (Awarded "Top 50 Law Professors on Twitter", and "Best Privacy Advisers" by ComputerWorld), says that people should be more concerned about what information they freely divulge online as well as the sites they participate in.
"There are so many privacy concerns today because we have so many different ways to communicate with each other," says Rebecca. "Certainly you can understand why parents want to share information about children on Facebook. The key is to know the importance of crossing the line and providing too much information. Parents have to consider the safety of their children."
Baby Ballot can be reached at BellyBallot.com.
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