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The Life of Sharing a Name With Amazon’s Virtual Assistant (Alexa)

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Bentley chapter.

November 6th, 2014 – a date that to many means absolutely nothing. To me, this is the day that my life changed forever. This is the day Amazon introduced their new virtual assistent, Amazon Echo, more commonly known as Alexa. “Alexa, what’s the weather today?” – a phrase that I will probably never go a day without hearing for the rest of my life. When Amazon first introduced their new device I thought it was laughable. Why would a company name their voice assistant Alexa? I didn’t think much of it until it became so popular a few years later that almost everyone I met owned one and called it Alexa. From then on my everyday life became very atypical.

Meeting new people was the biggest aspect of my life that changed. My experience meeting others turned into the same conversation over and over again. I introduce myself and am immediately hit with a joke like, “Alexa, what’s the traffic like today”? Of course after everyone makes the same joke when they meet me I have learned to play along and pretend to laugh at their hilarious and unique jokes. I thought that after a few years people would realize that I’ve heard it all before but that did not end up happening. Just a couple weeks ago I found myself getting into an Uber and immediately being greeted with “Alexa, play some music.” You’d think that after all this time I’d be able to catch on quicker, but no, I was very confused and it took me a couple seconds to realize that my Uber driver didn’t actually want me to take the AUX but was just trying to make a joke.

Obviously starting college online is a very stressful time for freshmen, and it was no easy endeavor for me. As many know, the first week of classes usually consist of going over the syllabi and suffering through the icebreakers. Because the first two weeks of classes were fully online, all students were either listening in from home or from their dorm room. When it was my turn to introduce myself to the class something happened that I was not expecting. A few of my classmate’s Amazon Echos turned on when I said my name, scaring them when their Alexa responded “sorry, didn’t quite get that.” Although this was probably the most embarrassing thing that has happened to me regarding my name, I now look back and laugh. After scaring a few of my classmates I was bombarded with the questions that I am always asked…

“Do you have an Amazon echo?” “Do you call it Alexa?” “Do your family members have one?” “What do they call it?”

To answer these questions once and for all, yes, I do have an Amazon Echo and so do many of my family members and friends. I do not call mine Alexa because you can change the name to Echo, Computer, or Amazon. Many of my friends still call theirs Alexa, but I’ve either made my family members who have one change it to Echo, or they’ve realized on their own that calling it Alexa is not the best idea. Although the negatives outweigh the positives of being named Alexa, I thought I’d list some positives for my fellow Alexa’s around the world that have definitely made me feel better about having this name. First, it’s a great icebreaker once you learn to ignore and laugh at the initial jokes made by someone you first meet. If you have nothing to talk about, this topic is always great to start with because for some reason people are always interested. Second, you get very good at ignoring people. Whenever I hear my name I am now conditioned to assume they aren’t talking to me. Lastly, when my family and friends got the device, most started out by calling it Alexa but then quickly changed the name without me even saying a word. They would complain about how their Echo would constantly turn on without warning when they said my name. I may be crazy, but what this tells me is that if my name comes up in conversation enough to bother them, that means they must be talking about me a lot, and I am an important part of their lives. Many times I’ve had friends tell me about how they mentioned my name and their Echo turned on, which makes me feel good about myself.

Overall, having the name Alexa has driven me to the point where I don’t like when people use my name. I genuinely don’t want to hear my name used in a conversation, not because I don’t like it, but just because the name Alexa for me is now just like a song that is overplayed on the radio to the point where people don’t enjoy playing it anymore. If you have a friend or a family member named Alexa ,and you own an Amazon Echo, please consider changing the name. I can’t speak for all the Alexas out there, but for me personally I’ve had an interesting experience with this name. So next time you meet someone named Alexa, you may want to avoid the Amazon Echo jokes because they’ve probably heard it all before on the daily.

Alexa Greco

Bentley '24

Third year student at Bentley Major: Marketing Minor: Information Design and Corporate Communication
Melissa is President and Campus Correspondent of Her Campus at Bentley University.  She is a senior majoring in Marketing and minoring in Spanish and Psychology.  Melissa studied abroad in Sevilla, Spain!  In her free time, she loves to read, write, play tennis, volunteer, and spend time with family and friends.  You'll usually find her exploring new places and restaurants and then writing articles about them!