My name is danah boyd and I'm a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research and the founder/president of Data & Society. Buzzwords in my world include: privacy, context, youth culture, social media, big data. I use this blog to express random thoughts about whatever I'm thinking.

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who has a cute new car? me!!!

::giggle:: Guess who came home from the car dealer with a new gadget? A big one with monthly installments and lots of legal paperwork? ::bounce:: Isn’t he cute??

Thanks to everyone for your input! You really helped me with my research process and I super appreciate it. I decided to go with a Scion xD because it was the right combination of small, cheap, quirky, practical, and dependable. I feel a little guilty because it’s painfully clear that Scion is targeted directly at people like me and I hate ending up fitting into a stereotype, but, well… it is nice to have an iPod jack built in standard and have a design aesthetic meant for hipster 20-30somethings. Plus, I have to admit that I loved the non-sleazyness of the Santa Monica Scion/Toyota people who knew how to handle young people who didn’t want to be dicked around. I really am a sucker for non-corporate corporateness.

Now, it’s just time to name him. (Somehow, in my world, cars always get boy pronouns… kinda like dogs=male and cats=female.) My first car was an old Saab 900 named Cody after the Kerouac character who was always going somewhere but no one could ever figure out where. My second car, a Hyundai Elantra, was originally Cody Jr. but then got nicknamed Pierre on a roadtrip after it was clear that his horn was awfully nasal-y and French. We also decided that Pierre was gay because he was always getting attacked by mean people who didn’t seem to understand him (for example, thieves broke into his trunk one night and took a Cribbage game that was housed in a CD-like case). OK… I’m going to stop there because it’s probably clear that I’m feeling a little loopy and some might find my personification of my cars a little strange…

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16 comments to who has a cute new car? me!!!

  • That is a trevor, like clever trevor.

  • Kim Boyd

    A geeky, web 2.0ish way to help choose your new baby’s name! Congrats!

  • Cars are bad. Pollution, road kills, congestion: bad, bad, bad. You should never give a French name to a car: not even French car manufacturers to that!
    — OK, Now that this is done…

    I’m all for the death penalty for marketers, but isn’t “targeted directly at people like me”, a little bit like: I like it, it was though for me, they tried to please me, and they got it right? How is that a problem? Social science (a mouthful that is supposed to include marketing somehow) is about understanding people, admitting the little boxes are terrible, but they are colorful, and God, people fit well in them. Admitting you fit in is not the easiest part — but don’t you feel happy when you read “And then my mom asked to Friend me ::akward::”, because it’s right on target? After all, car manufacturers don’t force their category onto you like people who write essays, articles or books, don’t they? After all, they have a reason not to make subtle, complex analysis — but just figure out the right money/features/thickness of steel that would appeal?

    Marketing is frightening when it change society wishes, forces loud music on shoppers because it was noticed in prisoners camp that they would be more docile then — but this isn’t about changing you, it’s about saying: “Oh, and 60% of our sample said they have an iPod, so we embedded a dock”, proving they knew enough about you before they made the car, and saved you some tweaking. (The 99.99% of the population who doesn’t read this blog actually *don’t* like tweaking with their car & music player. Yeah, they are lame.)

    I said nothing about the legalese, but one thing is sure: they probably noticed that no one would read that too, in their consumer surveys.

  • joe

    Howabout “Ethan of Heron” after the man protagonist in the Scion comic? ( )

  • I like both Clever Trevor and Ethan. Here are a few more ideas just for fun (it is Friday, after all!)

    * Gandolf the Gray
    * LOLcar
    * The Dude

  • John Beckwith

    Congrats! My wife got an xA earlier this year and has been thrilled with it since – especially the stereo that changes colors when you’re listening to music and the interior floor light effects (red).

    Scions are a great buy since the base price really the base price – they make their money off of selling you the extras like light effects, colored foot pedals, etc.- basically stuff geared toward anyone who’s ever been to a rave 😛

    She dubbed hers the Strawberry Fryer 2 (her old car was the original Srawberry Fryer).

  • Nathan

    Call it Nathan. Nothing says 20-30 something hipster better than Nathan. And paint it black.

  • Frances Bell

    Definitely a boy.
    You could look at this site of most popular names. Taking 1982, here are the mosy popular boys names in California.
    California Michael 6,621 Daniel 5,345 Christopher 5,249 Jose 5,037 David 4,838
    Do you think he might be a Jose?

  • Sue W

    How about Pozzo?

  • He’s so adorable!

    Scions aren’t sold in Canada, otherwise, it would have made made my shortlist.

    He definitely looks like a Clever Trevor. The suggestion about checking out the Scion comic is also nifty.

    I named mine after one of my favourite characters from a Japanese anime who is small and full of spunk. Appropos since he came from Japan.


  • Congratulations on the car! Looks lovely! I should point out though, with regard to nasal French queer car, Pierre, that gay people might not be thrilled at being characterised as perpetual victims…

  • Congrats! The whole process of buying a car sucks, but the fun of driving it off the lot makes a lot of it fade. Enjoy the new ride! As to naming your car, I totally relate. I’m still finding a name for my new car.

  • hey, you finally arrived in LA! ;0

  • Ged

    Funny, I always gave my cars women’s names, so I guess it may be a perspective thing. I had a Fiat 500 called Tia through to a Unimog called Beverley.

    Anyway, wouldn’t be great for if you had a personalised web property, social network profile whatever that you had such a personal relationship that you named. I wonder why they haven’t got there yet?

    My MacBook Pro has a name (Toshiro after Toshiro Mifune), but my iPod doesn’t since I seem to go through them before I get attached to them.