Digital Doubles: Sparring Over Screen Names

Wayne Miller, a documentarian and Providence Journal staff writer, has even made hunting online for people with the same name something of a hobby.

It started in 1997, when he tried to create a Web site to promote a book and found that his name was taken. He e-mailed the other Wayne Miller to see if he might give up the URL, but he wouldn't budge.

Since then, he said, "I've been intrigued with people who have this name."

He started a "Wayne Club" blog in 2007 and, since then, has been amassing friends named Wayne Miller on Facebook.

Hundreds of people on Facebook have a name that includes Wayne Miller in some capacity, he said. So far, he's friended about 20.

And though he says it's a "perverse fascination," he also says it's enabled him to meet an interesting cross section of the virtual world.

Those Wayne Millers he now counts as friends include a deckhand from Kentucky, a marine corps member in West Virginia, a vocalist from Boston and a self-employed carpenter from London.

Almost every Wayne Miller he contacted admitted his own fascination with their name.

"I guess there is on some level a shallow affinity with these people," he said. "As I got more into it, it was a way of reaching out to other people. It was a commonality. I was curious about who was on Facebook and this was a way to reach out."

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