WeChat Usernames: An Exploratory Study of Users’ Selection Practices
- product names,
- plant names,
- phytonymy, Asia
Copyright (c) 2020 American Name Society
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
As one of the most popular social networking applications in China, WeChat has recently attracted scholarly attention. To date, these studies have tended to concentrate on how it has been used as a social networking and emerging business model. However, little is known about the practices users follow when selecting usernames on WeChat. Using an onomastic lens, this study addresses this gap by examining 501 WeChat usernames. With data collected through an online survey, this study first investigates categories emerging from the name corpus and explores the reasons behind each of these categories. It then analyzes the sociocultural ramifications embedded within this use of names. As one of the first of its kind, the article provides key insight into how the interplay of online discourse, acquaintance networks, and Chinese culture contribute to the development of this important onomastic phenomenon.
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