This is what the ‘M.’ stands for, and here’s why I use it
This blog was dead for about three months while I tried to work out a DNS conflict with my host. It’s back now only after I decided to throw in the towel and park it at WordPress.
To celebrate this auspicious return, I thought I’d answer the question I’m most often asked: Why the hell is your byline M. Alex Johnson?
Until about four years ago, I thought journalists who tacked an initial in front of their name — an initial initial, so to speak — were pompous. Then two things happened:
• The Canadian singer Alexz Johnson started getting huge on social media, and I started to get misdirected searches and fan posts intended for her.
• More important, what was then msnbc.com adopted a new CMS built on top of a public social media platform. All of us on the staff had to register with the service to generate bylines for our stories. The service already had several members named “Alex Johnson.” So the byline it spat out for me (unalterable by admins because plain old “Alex Johnson” was rightfully possessed by someone else) was Alex Johnson-13749. While I thought that was pretty cool — “By Alex Johnson-13749, Staff Writer” — it wasn’t going to fly.
“M. Alex Johnson” it had to be. For consistency’s sake, I adopted it for my Twitter, Facebook and other handles.
And the answer to the headline question?
My full name is Melton Alexandré Johnson II. I am not making this up.