I presented two social media Masterclasses at the South Australian Tourism Industry Council conference recently.
The conference MC was a journalist named Emma Rebellato.
Emma had a lovely speaking voice. Smooth tones. Calming manner.
But it was her name I was even more envious of. Emma Rebellato. Say it aloud. It runs so easily off the tongue, like a poem or an incantation. You want to say it again and again.
With my name, it’s different. “Michelle Prak” stops you in your tracks.
“Prak” is almost spat out. It’s an abrasive sound. And it’s often misheard by people because it’s so unusual. I’m frequently asked to repeat it, to make sure I didn’t say “Pratt” or “Brack” or some such.
Twice, I’ve had the opportunity to change my surname.
The first time, in my teens. My family was going through a time of change, with two families joining together and a plethora of surnames up for grabs in all sorts of combinations.
After a quick poll of my high school besties (because really, who else can you trust?), I chose to stick with ‘Prak’.
Years later the opportunity came with marriage. Again, I stuck with Prak – for professional reasons mainly, but also because I found too many other advantages in sticking with the name I was born with rather than changing (for which I couldn’t find many compelling reasons). Happily, my fabulous husband didn’t try to influence my decision.
Today, as a social media passionista I’m more glad than ever that I didn’t change my name.
And that comes back to my high school besties. Because they were the first to call me Prakky.
Prakky became my online name and has worked well for me. People seem to like it.
Prakky is different to Prak.
Prakky rolls more easily off the tongue. It seems to make people happy, and comfortable with me.
Even better, it’s lent itself easily to other formats – like my blog, where I crowdsourced the name Prakkypedia.
Similarly, Prakky has helped me move away from the more vanilla ‘Michelle’ which is quite a common name for my age group. I’m not in the league of Ita or Madonna, but Prakky is a name that has gradually become a brand in my little fish pond and helped me to promote my work.
What’s this all leading to?
Well, stay tuned for more uses of the Prakky name coming soon.