What’s in a name? Barraco Barner gaffe goes global

President Barack Obama must be used to having his name spelled incorrectly.

President Barack Obama must be used to having his name spelled incorrectly.

Let’s face it, nobody pays too much attention to spelling on social media... right?

Wrong. As one poor Fylde coast resident found out the hard way.

Barack Obama may be President of the United States of America and one of the most powerful men in the world – but his name can be a bit tricky to spell.

Even so, anyone who mistakenly writes his name as “Barraco Barner” can expect a bit of gentle ribbing form their friends.

But when Gemma Worrall, from Blackpool, posted a message on Twitter asking why “our president” was getting involved in an overseas political crisis, she had no idea just how much attention she would get.

Her phone quickly went into meltdown as the question was retweeted around the world – prompting plenty of mocking responses – and hit the headlines in Australia, Belgium and Estonia.

On Monday, Gemma tweeted: “If Barraco Barner is our president why is he getting involved with Russia? Scary.”

Yesterday, after the tweet had gone ‘viral’ she posted: “I hope I haven’t offended the real Barack Obama with my tweet. It was just a question I was curious about, sorry”

Responses, not all of them polite, ranged from disbelief to marriage proposals.

Ryan Turner tweeted: “I do believe Barraco Barner is an improvement and more people should start calling him it.”

Andy Wilkinson said: “I was in stitches while eating my breakfast this morning when I saw it.”

Gemma told The Gazette she was shocked by the attention she received.

She said: “The spelling was an unfortunate iPhone correction. I’ll admit I’m not into politics – I was watching the news and tried to act clever but it back-fired.

“Some people find it hilarious and some people are taking it personally but I don’t care either way. Me and my friends couldn’t stop laughing all day on Monday.

“I’m just confused how it got this far – it got nearly 6,000 retweets before I had to delete it. It was crashing my phone.

“I’ve had a lot of abuse about the tweet but only from people who don’t know me.”

Gemma’s take on the escalating tensions between Russia and Ukraine – spelled “You crayon” by one less-than-friendly Twitter user poking fun at the situation – ended up sparking far more debate on literacy than global politics.

But while the spelling mistake was particularly flagrant, Gemma can rest safe in the knowledge she is not alone.

Studies have previously found even Americans have trouble spelling their president’s name, although “Barak” and “Barrak” crop up a little more frequently than “Barraco”.

And entire websites have been dedicated to the often 
bizarre misspellings of names since coffee chain Starbucks started writing customers’ names on cups.

Among the alleged name-related mishaps were all together more common names, including Amy written “A-Me”, Michelle as “Missle”, Phoebe as “Fibi” and Ingrid, which became “Angry”.

Which all just proves how easy it can be to get a name wrong from time to time, however embarrassing it turns out to be.

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