I heard a piece on NPR over the weekend on how popular it has become to Google someone. If you’re not familiar with Google, it’s a search engine that allows you to search web pages on the internet and a whole lot more!
Here’s how it works. Say you’re going on a blind date with someone named John Doe. You go to Google and type “John Doe”, including the quotes, and then type the name of the city John lives in, like “Walla Walla”. There’s advantages and disadvantages to including the city name. First of all, it narrows down the search to “John Doe” in your city, rather than every John Doe in the world. However, if John Doe is on the web but that page doesn’t mention what city he’s from, Google is going to skip over it. This will turn up various results, for example what interests he may have, any criminal records that have appeared in newspapers and if he’s been really liberal with surfing, any sexual activities he may be in to.
Anyways, I’ve been Googling people for years and have passed many a night looking up old friends, old romances and everything. It’s particularly fun when you look up an old flame on Google’s image search. At times you can revel in how haggard that young stud has become!
My old college roommate recently found me through a web search. We haven’t talked in nearly 20 years and have been exchanging e-mails back and forth for the past week catching up on a little bit of our lives. I mentioned an old mutual college friend that was from his hometown (so he knew her much better than I did) and he said that she had become a opera singer. I haven’t even thought about her since college (except maybe fleetingly) and now I’m interested in hearing some of her work. That’s kind of cool.
I must admit that I’m vain enough to Google myself. This blog often ranks high up on Google’s search results, especially if you Google the title “Life Is Such A Sweet Insanity.” I even beat out the television show I stole the title from (it’s a line from the theme to “Valerie”/”Valerie’s Family”/”The Hogan Family” starring Valerie Harper and then later Sandy Duncan.) If you search the same phrase through Google groups, you see newsgroup entries I made as early as 1994.
I guess the moral of the story is to always be aware of what you’re typing on the internet. Anyone, anywhere, can find it at anytime.