Tuesday, May 11, 2021

To Google or not to Google Oneself?


Aye, that is the question*

*(Maybe not THE question, but A question)


Alas, we use “google” as a verb now for “internet search.” There are other options, though I still use Google because it reigns supreme.


I have found that occasional googling (or Duck Duck Go-ing, Swiss Cow-ing, Gibiru-ing Bing-ing and more) can bring up some surprises about self. Hopefully they are nice surprises, but the question is whether it should be part of anyone’s digital hygiene practices.


I think at this day and age where so much of life’s connectivity is digital, it is healthy to look oneself up now and then. I know writers look up their published books. I recall some on a chat board saying they are stalking their own titles. Stalking suggests obsessional behavior. But doing a bi-annual search just in case something very wrong (ouch) or something very right (yay) is floating out there— is rather sensible.


But it is an awkward feeling, I confess. If you are creeped out by looking yourself up, just don’t. So far, I have found at least four nice surprises, (a review I was unaware of that is now quoted and linked to my website, a blogger’s review of one of my published articles, and more) and one not so happy thing, (a site purported to give personal info on anyone and everyone decided to confuse my age with my much-older DH.) But on the whole, I found what I expected to find. I’m not famous, so that is about what I anticipated.


Two friends, who insisted there couldn’t be anything about them on the Interwebs, were proven wrong. There is something somewhere. But if you don’t mind, don’t care— that’s fair. Don’t look. You don’t have to.


Like most things in life, I straddle the middle ground: no staking/haunting, not avoiding. Once or twice a year does it for me.


If you ever found real surprises while googling self, I’d love to hear about it. At the very least, it would make a good story.

*This^ actually happened to a writing friend


Vijaya said...

Like you, I check what's out there once in a while and I've discovered some lovely reviews of my books from teachers. I also randomly saw one of my pictures used without attribution from an editor. I asked her to give credit or take it down. She chose the latter.

Kelly Hashway said...

I'm almost positive I'm the only Kelly Hashway that comes up in Google, and since I grew up with a very common name, that's surprising to me. My maiden name was so common, I lived in the same town as someone with my exact name.

Barbara Etlin said...

I do this every few months and have found some pleasant surprises: a mention of my article about James Houston in a bibliography of a book about him, a temporary reappearance of an ezine that had published some of my poetry...

It's important to know what the web is saying about you and your books (or articles or poems.)

MirkaK said...

I'm glad you brought this up because I had not checked in a really long time and your post was a reminder. Just now I Googled my name and got the following: About 14,300 results (0.54 seconds). I scrolled through a bunch of pages with citations that I recognize, but then I came to one that stopped me--some art group in Australia listing all kinds of links for me and my work, as though I were a member. Now I have to find out what this is about. Well, looks as though checking from time to time is useful. But I'm not about to go through the 14,300 results!

Janie Junebug said...

I check on myself occasionally. I've never found anything surprising--only the blog and some of the newspaper articles I've written.