In The End We Name Ourselves – Exercise #18

In Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare asks us, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” That all may be well and good, but names do have strength. This goes back to the ancient belief that if we name something or know a creature’s real name, then we have power over it. So while the task for Kindle in my namethis exercise may sound easy, “The Meaning Behind Your Blog Name”, the story behind that meaning is much more important.

Ok, directly, this site is my blog and it bears my name, Michael Carnell. Simple as that. But it didn’t always have that name. And in the past it wasn’t even my blog. If we go way back, this was my personal business site, business only, and it was named “Palmettobug Digital.” In fact if you got to it still brings you right here. Palmettobug Digital was my professional business identity. On the personal side I had a blog titled “Postcards From Myself”. A cute little title that not only indicated that I was trying to post a good number of pictures, but that I also wanted to travel, and that what I was writing was as much a reminder to me of what was going on as anything else.

Now jump forward a few years – my business is doing better, I am doing more public speaking and writing, and people are becoming more familiar with my work and my name. Well the problem is that outside of the Southern United States for the most part, no one knows what a palmettobug is. By the way, palmettobugs are cockroaches. And, as my friend and unofficial business advisor Andra Watkins pointed out to me one day, those folks who do know what a palmettobug is don’t like them. It was not very inviting to new clients. And the name really didn’t have anything to do with my vocation or skills, it was just some interesting local color. Understanding that then, I started to consider new names for my business. Well, duh, it finally hit me that it was me people knew or were looking for. It was my name that was on those magazine articles and book chapters, it was me standing up giving presentations, and it was my name that was my most reliable search term. With that, my name became my brand.

I will tell you what, it makes all sorts of things a lot easier when you just use your own name. There is no confusion about how a form should be filled out, there is no question about who is in charge, and there is never any question about who is to blame when things go wrong. The only question that started to come up, to myself as much as anyone else, was “who is Michael Carnell?”  The problem was there were two of me. There was that one at with all the professional stuff, and then there was another one at with the other half of my personality. It took some soul searching, and a little bravery, but I finally understood that I am one person, for better or worse, and that I should have one identity. The people who deal with me professionally know the rest of me that they are getting. And the folks who know me on a more social basis also get to meet the sometimes professional side. There is one Michael Carnell, that is me, and this is the site.

So there you have it, the meaning behind my blog name, and more importantly the reasoning behind that name.