It’s unsure whether or not the Cincinnati Zoo knew what they were getting into when they made an announcement welcoming a new member to the family, and that they were looking for suggestions via Facebook. A four-day window has opened up in the virtual world that will allow whomever to offer name suggestions, as often and as esoteric as they want.
A baby giraffe was born on Saturday, April 2nd, though the staff did not know until a day later that it was a girl, as there is an important bonding period immediately after birth between the newborn and mother that is not to be disrupted by trainers. So in the evening of Sunday, April 3rd, the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden made the announcement and directed people to their Facebook page to name the little girl.
It is a great way to get people involved and to showcase the newborn, which is undeniably adorable in every picture. The effort to seek names from the public is a commendable one, but will likely not rank among the most organized calls to the public ever. It truly is a free-for-all on the Facebook change, all good hearted, but equally endearing and funny.
There is no coherent process, as people have submitted suggestions as comments below every video and picture posted of the giraffe. The following is true at the time of this post, with numbers likely continuing to increase until the Friday deadline. A new photo of the giraffe that has been online for 43 minutes has 70 comments. One photo posted Tuesday morning with the first caption soliciting names has 1,465 comments. There are scores more on each of many pictures and videos posted; and while some of the comments are congratulatory, many offers names. Curiously enough, some of the photos are tagged with names of random people, and not just ones that list a hometown anywhere close to Cincinnati–people from around the country want to get in on this.
As names continue to come in, with no sense of organization, it’s funny to imagine just about how the zoo plans to go about weeding through everything. It should be noted that it is not a popularity contest; one post mentions that the zoo keepers are looking for suggestions and will decide themselves. Still, that hasn’t stopped Facebookers (most likely teenagers), from promoting names as much as possible – Cameron seems to be everywhere. At quick glance, there are no suggestions of Giraphael, Giraffrey Rush, or Stephen Colbert—my choice names.
Head over to the page, find a picture, and submit your favorite name with a comment. If you are intent and coming up with the perfect moniker, you should know that the baby is a Masai Giraffe, the mother is named Tessa and the father is named Kimba. If you’re not interested in helping name the child, or you feel that you’re voice won’t be heard (a common sentiment among voters), the Facebook page is worth just to visit to see a variety of pictures and videos with major cuteness factors. There is also a video of the actual birth, which some may describe as cute, while others may opt for other words.
So congratulations to the Cincinnati Zoo for their newborn, praise to them for using social media to reach out to the public, and best of luck to the poor intern who will have to go through the thousands of posts.