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the google-self

I’m not ashamed to admit it: I love Googling myself. I try to keep myself in check, limiting how often I do it, and really, it’s pretty rare that anything new pops up, and so I wonder: Why do it? What do I think Google will reveal to me about me? Is it just self-obsession, a desire to feel important in a world that perpetually reminds me that I’m not important? Because let’s just say it, we’re writers. Who cares? Arguably, we care about ourselves & each other, but it’s a small community. We self-reference each other. We read each other. We review each other. Sometimes, one of us blogs about another one of us. Or our names appear on group blogs like this one or htmlg or clusterflock. But my point is: Why does Google (or any other search engine) offer us (insert: me) validation? It shouldn’t, right? And yet, it does.

Argue with me peoples. Tell me I’m wrong. & while you’re at it, disclose how often you Google yourself. I’ll be most impressed if someone honestly says they never have…

10 thoughts on “the google-self

  1. I not only Google myself but have a Google Alert for my name, so I know when I appear on any website, anywhere, “as it happens.”

    I am not ashamed.

    I have quite a few Google Alerts, even for other writers and/or subjects I’m interested in. So it’s not all me me me me me.

    Anyway, thank everyone for ever putting my name on a website. I am grateful for the publicity, the honor of being printworthy in their estimation, the active building of community.

  2. right on, molly! i’ve heard about these google alerts, but i think those are even more dangerous. better just to periodically self-google…

    and who wouldn’t reference you, molly? i think i’ll write a blog about just you later, for it to pop up on your google alert. fun!

  3. Google alerts are helpful, I find, for online identity management. Searching google is too laborious, wading through all the mirror sites and such.

  4. Shya: I think that’s the thing, I’d rather not need to online manage my identity, though increasingly, it’s necessary. maybe i’ll reconsider this google alert business, just one more thing to obsess over.

  5. I kicked the googling habit after I found out about Google Alerts, too. It’s kind of like switching to filtered cigarettes. You’ll feel a teensy bit better about yourself and your capacity for self-restraint, but in the end they’re still cigarettes… The web is a wicked temptress.

  6. I was never into it until like 2 years ago, I googled myself and found an old professor dropped my name in her book (a thank you) and I never knew about it.

    Since then, every now and then. Google Alerts are great for finding “instant news” about things you like (obsessed with) but, I have found that I can hardly keep up with them. It quickly became a chore.

  7. I started Googling myself about six months ago and I do it once every couple months. I don’t know that I would characterize it as self-obsession but I find it to be kind of fun and interesting to see what’s being said about me. Still, people always spell my name wrong so I have to Google both spellings and that’s so much work that I quickly lose interest. The best thing I’ve found was an irate writer who had received a form rejection from me via the Submission Manager that addressed her as “Dear Writer.” She had not nice things to say. The word fuck was involved but she also spelled my name wrong so that made it even funnier and kind of ironic. I actually e-mailed her and said we’ve changed our rejection letters to address writers by their name so she would know her anger had created positive change. She was mortified (and unnecessarily so; I didn’t take offense). I still think its funny.

  8. Those who claim not to Google themselves are lying!
    Have you guys seen the July/August 2009 “Flarf” issue of _Poetry_?

    Here are the first two stanzas of Mel Nichols’ “I Google Myself” (which is a funny commentary on these issues):

    I Google myself
    I want you to love me
    When I feel down
    I want you to Google me
    I search myself
    I want you to find me
    I Google myself
    I want you to remind me

    I don’t Google anybody else
    When I think about you
    I Google myself
    I don’t Google anybody else
    At home alone in the middle of the night
    I Google myself…


  9. roxane: too funny! that’s much better than googling yourself & finding mean reviews. that’s no fun.

    michael: love the poem. hilarious in its truth.

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