On the order of names

There is a reason, I think, why first name is called a first name, and surname is often called a last name. That’s because, I think, one should use them in this order. John is the first name. Doe is a last name. So one should use John Doe. Not Doe John.

What’s the big deal, you say? Isn’t it obvious that John is a first name? Well, not always. I know John. You know John. And John knows John. But we aren’t all American. Or English speaking for that matter. We are getting global. We get more and more people online. They come from different places, they grew up in different cultures, and they speak different languages.

If you need an example, get a name from a Chinese or Indian guy. Then see if you can figure out where is the first name, where is the last name, and if that is a guy or a girl…

With all those people coming in, we have more and more data to play with. But in order to extract any useful information from that data, it has to be organized. Just a little bit. Tagged. Marked up. It should have at least something. And there is no global way to organize this all. The only way is for everybody to organize their own bits. Only like this, I believe, it will work out.

All I want it, is to be able to call anyone in my address book and say “Hey, John, how are you doing this days?”. It just doesn’t sound the same with Doe.

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