February 9, 2001
8:34 PM   Subscribe

It's become second nature for many of us to head straight to Google when trying to find something, and more people seem to be discovering the site all the time. These days, savvy New Yorkers are Googling for love.
posted by Aaaugh! (31 comments total)
I think I smell an idea for Sex and the City coming on.
posted by xtrmntr at 9:44 PM on February 9, 2001

Ya I saw that article during the "dumb motherfucker" thing. I forget which blog though. Wish I could remember or find it somewhere. I guess that's another meme though.

I will say about the Google thing that it's amazing what you can find these days. When that kid who was going to blow up his college in California was arrested Obscurestore.com had a link to some mail list he posted to in 1998. They must have found that through Google. I'd post the link to their link but I can't find it Obscurestore's site and I don't see archives. =
I guess the way to think about it now is that anything you post will become part of the web forever. Just a quick link to your name. I don't know if thats scary or just weird.
posted by redleaf at 9:45 PM on February 9, 2001

Ironic, I was going to blog this when the article first got posted, and then again when Jorn blogged it at Robot Wisdom.

But I didn't want to put it on my site because I had just emailed a woman I had a crush on 10 years ago and didn't want her to think I was even creepier than I am. Also, better not to reveal how we find those email addresses... heh heh heh

No, I'm not a stalker. Really. Honest.
posted by anildash at 9:53 PM on February 9, 2001

Not too long ago, two companies merged and as a result their new name has "my" name in it. So if someone googles me based on name, they get around 2000 matches. Sure, they can reduce the matches by excluding a certain word, but I don't think the average googler does that.

What's the earliest trace of yourself that you can find on google by using your name/nickname/whatever?
posted by gluechunk at 10:24 PM on February 9, 2001

I just Googled myself. If I lived in Manhattan, my potential dates would discover that I am a teacher, a precocious 8 year old, a second year band student, and dead.
posted by xtrmntr at 10:40 PM on February 9, 2001

Woo Hoo! I'm a mediocre jockey, an outstanding fireman, and a nice Jewish girl who just got married.

I am also dead. But on the bright side, I'm sure I lived a very rich and rewarding life, as a jockey, fireman, and nice Jewish girl.
posted by Optamystic at 11:23 PM on February 9, 2001

Apparently I'm me and nothing but me - pesky unique Ellis Island-induced last name.

The first thing they would learn about me, from the top match? Why, that I'm MetaFilter user #1666, of course. [shakes head]
posted by youhas at 12:42 AM on February 10, 2001

This article is too much. "An unnamed person googled some guy. Jane also googled Tom. I googled this guy, she googled this guy, he googled some google google google google".

Jesus, if you're going to make up fake anecdotes and conversations to fill out your story about something you do personally and make it sound like a big trend, try to make it realistic by having some people say they "searched" or "looked online" or something. This article completely smacks of those stupid Cosmo articles where they have anecdotes from dozens of fake people about dating or whatever, with no more bio info than "Jane, an advertising professional". I think this writer was just looking for an excuse to use Google as a verb. Which she did 18 times. If it wasn't Google, I'd almost think the company's marketing department just got this done hoping to get people to use their name as a verb.

If I didn't make it clear, I think this was a terrible, stupid article. That's all.
posted by beefula at 1:19 AM on February 10, 2001

It was a v. stupid article, but people do do it. When I used to do visitor logging I found an old girlfriend had checked out an obscure site of mine which only had my name in a Meta Tag (I.E. searchable)

bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch

(she ripped my heart out my ass)
posted by fullerine at 2:39 AM on February 10, 2001

I had written some time ago to a blog, somewhat critical of a position taken. The Blogger wrote back and said "I seem to be who I claimed to be"--she had goggled me. But she did acknowledge that she was not totally sure of what she discovered but merely said that the person using my name had done what I had mentioned in my note to her. It was now, so to speak, my turn to "prove" that I was the same person as the name I had used in writing to her.
Sort of like cashing a check.
posted by Postroad at 3:42 AM on February 10, 2001

Think that's fun? Try reverse egosurfing.
posted by rodii at 8:20 AM on February 10, 2001

Luckily (I think), I planned for this years ago. My real name brings up nada. Folks gotta know my nick to get to the good stuff.

And if you don't know my nick, you don't know me.

BTW, did anyone notice how shallow a lot of these "googlers" were? Oh boy! He makes a lot of money! What a catch!

Spare me.
posted by frykitty at 9:48 AM on February 10, 2001

my site comes up near the top, but the rest go to an environmental activist with my name. also, a ferret.
posted by sugarfish at 10:54 AM on February 10, 2001

Good god. It's amazing how much stuff Google keeps ahold of. And what's worse is there's only really one B.K. DeLong.....
posted by bkdelong at 11:02 AM on February 10, 2001


Interestingly enough, I share my name with a guy out west, down to the middle initial; web searches on either version seem to hit me slightly harder these days than him, though that only happened once I started blogging.

The Cheswick page is something I'd come across, but forgotten; it's quite cute. For those who missed it, cut the <br> off the link, and you'll get the entry intended to be linked to.

RIP Deja. <sigh>
posted by baylink at 12:23 PM on February 10, 2001

The corrected link.
posted by rodii at 1:08 PM on February 10, 2001

Hmm. I think I'll hunt down all the web pages I cranked out when I was 14 and give each one the ol' 404 effect...
posted by tomorama at 2:25 PM on February 10, 2001

What's next, dumping people who ask your friends about you? I think people are taking this way too seriously.
posted by dhartung at 4:14 PM on February 10, 2001

I am the only "Mars Saxman" in the world.

posted by Mars Saxman at 4:28 PM on February 10, 2001


that jargon page is wild. I didn't know that peterme coined the term "blog", or that kottke coined "dotcommerce". That is so cool.

posted by Optamystic at 5:59 PM on February 10, 2001

Agreed, beefula, this article is the worst kind of fluff that comes from the "it's a trend!" school of reporting. And yes, frykitty, these people (if they are real) are unbelievably shallow. Take this for example: "Michael, a now-unemployed dot-commer, recalled falling truly, madly, deeply for a bikini-clad blond actress he met on the beach." Jeez. How can the author write "truly, madly, deeply" and "bikini-clad actress" in the same sentence and expect people to take it seriously?

By far the most interesting part of that page is if you scroll down and read about how Georgemag.com's online forums were trashed by people posting pr0n images and stuff from rotten.com. Heh, what did they think would happen if they let people anonymously post images in an online forum?
posted by Potsy at 6:07 PM on February 10, 2001

Umbelivable I don't even have that much of a web presence.
posted by bjgeiger at 6:30 PM on February 10, 2001

Hmm... the top link for my name is a poem I wrote when I was 17 that's on Jens Moellenhoff's site for people on this mailing list I used to be on. After that, a few other mailing lists, and a lot of things about some sports writer that seems to have my name, which is ironic, because I despise sports. On the fourth page, you actually find my webpage. You also find my metafilter profile, and a thread under "Recovery from Mormonism" called Ayn Rand debunked by M.Scott Peck, which I think is really funny, for some reason.
posted by dagnyscott at 6:33 PM on February 10, 2001

Googling for my name reveals a number of links to things I've written and places I've been (my "company" home page and my personal home page, last updated a long long time ago, are the first two hits). Oddly, many of the links are to messages I posted on discussion forums. I wonder what's up with that. My MeFi profile shows up on the third page of Google's results.

I happen to have the same name as a major league baseball player who played for the Cubs, the Indians, and the Twins over the span of 1956-1965 and who now apparently coaches for the University of Arizona. (When I had a listed number, I used to occasionally get calls asking if I was him.) He's written a lot more books than I have. And about half the Google results (maybe more) refer to him, not me.
posted by kindall at 7:04 PM on February 10, 2001

Googling my name brings up a story about how I killed my wife whom I used to beat every day. Yikes.
posted by Mark at 9:20 PM on February 10, 2001

My name is spread so far and wide that googling is largely an exercise in weeding out the rare columbine amid a meadow of dandelions, er, Daniels. There's a me who's a NASCAR racer (just recently), a freshman Duquesne footie, and apparently I'm a skinhead who killed someone on a Las Vegas sidewalk late last year -- according to the person arrested for the crime.
posted by dhartung at 9:53 PM on February 10, 2001

Wow, actually I take back whatever I said, I never tried checking out Google before, but check it out, there's apparently some actor with the same name as me! weird.
posted by beefula at 11:30 PM on February 10, 2001

My first and last names are common, so I have the safety of relative anonymity there.

That's one of the reasons I finally went back to my maiden name after I got divorced - my married name was far too unique, I didn't want to be searched on.

Now I've got Plausible Deniability: "It wasn't me; it was one of the other ones with my name."

And as a bonus, I managed to snag my dotcom name before any of the other Beth Roberts's got around to it. (And no, I'm not going to ever try to deny that I wrote anything there).

I don't even want to search on any of my old nicknames, though. Ugh. I may end up being grateful that there are no Usenet archives for certain years (though there is one piece I'd like to recover). Ah, well.

But I do confess to googling someone who already posted on this thread, several months back. :) (And yes, I found some good stuff, and yes, I also told them).
posted by beth at 12:02 AM on February 11, 2001

Snarfed from Romenesko:

That L.A. Times Google story looked awfully familiar to himFrom DAVID BLUM:
"Don't Be Shy, Ladies -- Google Him!" -- headline in The New York Oberver, 1/15/01 ...
"Don't Just Stand There -- Google" -- headline in The Los Angeles Times, 2/9/01.

Did anyone else notice the eerie similarity between the L.A. Times article
(last Friday), by Hilary E. MacGregor on the front page of the living section, and a front-page article a few weeks ago in the cutting-edge small-circulation, high-influence New York weekly? Though not a clear-cut case of plagiariasm, MacGregor's article takes an identical approach to the
subject as the Observer piece. The anecdotal lead of both articles is a first-person account of the reporter going out on a date with a seemingly successful man -- in both cases, the date is referred to as having a thick head of hair -- and returning home to "Google" him on the popular internet
search engine.

While the "borrowing" of story ideas, without credit, has long been a part of the TV news-gathering game, newspapers generally adhere to a higher standard. In this case, however, the L.A. Times story yesterday looks suspiciously like an effort to duplicate the Observer story -- even mimicking the approach of the writer. Perhaps the L.A. Times thinks that because the Observer's audience is so much smaller (particularly on the West Coast) it can
appropriate the approach of an article without reproach. But as a longtime print journalist, I think it's sleazy -- MacGregor should have taken an extra few minutes to find an original way to tell her story. [Romenesko note: I've left a message for MacGregor, inviting a response to Blum.]
posted by aaron at 8:53 AM on February 12, 2001

Googling me gets the same as most people here... my MeFi profile, a few Usenet and mailing list posts (the OpenBSD ones make me geek cool! :-) and a whole bunch of hydrogeology articles. Stupid, unoriginal child-naming father. :-)
posted by cCranium at 9:05 AM on February 12, 2001

Googling on Dreama will inevitably lead to me, but Googling on my legal name gets you no where near me. I think I kinda like that. (Though not the impression that I take part in bad community theatre, am recently separated from the US armed forces or own property in Rockingham County, NC.)
posted by Dreama at 3:01 PM on February 12, 2001

« Older Torture Still Widespread In Asia Says Amnesty   |   "The Standard Model" of the universe takes a hit.... Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments