Girl shortens name on Facebook to ‘Sarah Leanne’ for purposes of anonymity, individuality

Saint John — Former University of New Brunswick student Sarah Richardson, 21, is one of hundreds of young women across the province who are axing their surname in favour of an edgier first- and middle-name-only Facebook moniker.

“I was studying education, and some of my classmates pointed out that if I had my whole name on Facebook, my future students would be able to look me up way too easily,” she explained. “So I got rid of the ‘Richardson’ on Facebook. I’ve since dropped out of school, but now I keep just my middle name because I think it makes me more unique. It sets me apart.”

Richardson thought she was a Facebook pioneer, but said she’s been noticing pretty well every other girl on the site doing the same thing. “All my friends started copying me,” she told our reporter. “Kelsey Jamieson became Kelsey Lee, then it was my friend Fiona Walters who’s now Fiona Anne, and Riley Kehoe became Riley Rachel.”

Some young adults in the province are taking the quest for individuality a step further by changing their name entirely to suit whatever trend they’re currently following. “I’m ‘Dark Starr’ on Facebook,” said 19-year-old Danika Steeves, a Moncton native who identifies as a “fairy girl” and hangs out in a posse of like-minded misfits.

Steeves’ friend Matt Reynolds, 20, goes by “Murky Raine” and says he only uses pictures of anime characters and comic-book superheroes instead of photos of himself on his profile. “I don’t want anyone on social media to know what I look like, or my name,” he said, apparently unaware that his name would be published on The Manatee. “I think it creates an air of mystery about me, and makes people wonder ‘Who is Murky Raine, really??’ It’s just fun and quirky, and shows people how complex I am.”

As for Richardson, she said she plans to keep using her first and middles names, even though the whole province — and Internet at large — has started to follow suit. “My last name doesn’t really represent who I am, as a person. I want people to see me as a woman and an individual, not as part of a family or something like that.”

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