R.I.P. O’Malley Valdez Madoff

For the past 6 months…(or year?) I conducted a very simple social experiment.  I changed my name on Facebook from Ben Tao to “O’malley Valdez” and then to “O’malley Valdez Madoff.”

Why?  It all started out of boredom as I was playing around with Facebook settings.  I happen to click on in the section where it says you can change your name.   Facebook basically asks you for the name you are changing to so I typed in something ridiculous (I was kind of curious how crazy you could make them name before they would reject it), so off the top of my head “O’Mally Valdez” sounded good.  Later on I decided to add “Madoff” to the end after I read about how Whoopi Goldberg’s real name was “Caryn Elaine Johnson” and her mom suggested in order for people to take her serious she should add a Jewish last name…so hence Goldberg.  In my case I decided to choose a Jewish surname that would command respect and trust…hence “Madoff.”

Omalley Valdez Madoff

So that’s how the whole name changing thing started.  (There was also a slight paranoid factor/motivation involved (in that I really don’t trust Facebook with all my real data so I try to give it fake data so at least this way Mark Zuckerberg can’t stalk me.)  Anyway, so I went ahead with the name change.

I assumed that people would know that I changed my name and that anytime they saw “O’Malley” in their feed they would realize it was me, however this was not the case.  I started noticing some interesting things.

  • The number of friend requests I normally got decreased (this could be just because I ran out of friends…)
  • When I would try to add people whom I knew and just met they would ignore my friend request
  • One girl I met asked me for my Facebook name and I told her “O’Malley” and she said “No, really what’s your Facebook name?”  I swore to god that that was my name…but she wouldn’t believe me
  • Less people responded to my status updates and general Facebook spewing (I attribute this to people looking in the feed and wondering “who the f*ck is O’Malley?” and then ignoring whatever was there
  • One person actually thought my name was O’Malley and addressed me as O’Malley (just goes to show you how close Facebook friends are!)

Anyway, today O’Malley got hit by a bus and died.  So he no longer exists.  I’ll see if anything changes by using my “real name.”

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