On September 3rd, 2007 I joined an online community called “Seesmic" which at the time was an online video blogging community. It was really ahead of it’s time but unfortunately launched during a time when computer cameras were not commonly in use. So that model failed.
When I signed up for Seesmic I used the pseudonym “Giannii” which eventually was very commonly known as my name, online handle, gamertag, and middle name place holder.
I believe that one defines oneself by reinvention. To not be like your parents. To not be like your friends. To be yourself. To cut yourself out of stone. -Henry Rollins
I’m half Greek and Italian. Literally split down the middle genetically. My full birth given name is Michael Allen Calvert which sounds like some random white boy. Allen was my fathers brother that he didn’t care for, so I’m not sure why I received that middle name. It really bothered me later in life. All things accumulated, I felt the urge to change my name to something ethnic and unique. Something that emphasized both my heritages. So one night eating tacos and waiting for a Starcraft game to queue up. I decided to change my name to “Giannii”.
Giovanni is a common italian name and Giannis (Yiannis) is a common greek name. I found a name that covered both heritages, it was perfect.
Why the rogue vowel?
Since Gianni was a commonly used name, I couldn’t register it anywhere online. So I added an extra “i” and the online world of usernames opened to me. I even used to have the .com at one point but I ended up selling it.
Why use Michael now?
I moved to New York a couple years ago and since then I started using Michael again. Since The Seesmic days I felt like Giannii became a character that people horribly misdefined and it ruined the name for me. People didn’t know who I really was and always referred to the character I played online. A lot of pro wrestlers like Pat Patterson and Rowdy Roddy Piper experienced this throughout their lives. People remember the character and not the person. I wanted people to know me for who I am. So I removed almost every aspect of the “Giannii” branding from my life. The only remnant now is a “G” place holder for my middle name. I needed to keep the “G” in my name otherwise people wouldn’t easily connect me with my past from a business perspective. With that said, I don’t mind if you call me G but I prefer Michael.
It’s been a fascinating experience reverting back to my birth given name.