Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Little Engine That Could Use a Big Overhaul

The only disadvantage of having an uncommon name is that it’s very easy to be tracked down. With the advent of Google and all the other free Internet search engines, everyone’s moonlighting as a private investigator these days. People are so idle and nosy.

Evidently, the first thing people do once they get ahold of my name is take it straight to the search engines. Since Googling is no longer something that’s done in the shadows, many of them think nothing of confronting me about what they’ve sleuthed up. Then I might have to defend myself:

“No, I am NOT 41 years old. I don’t know where they got that from.”

“I sure did sign a petition to keep that allegedly adulterous Iranian woman from being stoned to death. Why didn’t you?”

“Dammit, I don’t know if I’m going to my next high school reunion. Stay out of it.”

At a job interview in early 2008, the hiring manager declared that he Googled me the night before (note that he did this at night – not during regular business hours) and proceeded to probe me about articles I wrote in 1997. Ever since then, I started Googling myself once a week, to stay on top of what’s out there and get a sense of how much of it I can control. So far, I’ve gotten a couple of inaccuracies and unnecessary pieces of information completely removed. But I’m not always so lucky. Last summer, I noticed an outrageous typo in the text of a header link that might always be a part of my search results. I went right to the source, e-mailing someone at the magazine (under the pretext of asking about something else) to alert her of the defect that hovers above my name. It’s still there.

I last Googled myself this morning. So much can happen in a week. There’s a brand-new search result that I don’t like one bit, and I can’t even fathom how something like this could have made it up there. I’ve added it to my Must-Go list.

I’ll never forget a chilling line I once read in a poem: “Daughter:/looks like laughter,/rhymes with slaughter.”

Google: /looks like Giggle, /rhymes with Bugle (which I consider to be the most aggravating of all the brass instruments).


  1. what was new information?

  2. Im having trouble logging in, so i have to be signed in as anonymous..-kk

  3. Hi Kadzi,

    I agree with you 100% on the google thing. It can affect lives and, in the extreme, destroy lives. I myself have stopped googling people I have met, because it seems so unfair. I'd rather simply figure people out myself, as in days of old. I'm appalled at all the stuff out there that the unfortunate person will never escape. The problem is increased by the fact that usually there is more than one person with the same name--so it's possible that the googler will be reading about someone that is not you. I, too, have an unusual name (at least an unusual spelling of the first name), but there are several people in the United States with the same name and the same spelling.
    I just checked to see whom they have listed as people associated with me. They got my husband and daughter correctly, but from there they spun off into fantasy. I know I will never get them to change all this incorrect information. And have you ever tried to get information changed on your credit report? Don't even bother.
    Oh, the computer age...a blessing and a curse.

  4. I don't even google myself anymore...the people that matter most to me know me better than any stupidity or invented information that is floating in googleland. Look at that name, it says it all. I can say that because I am not in the work force or out there anymore. I know it is different for you and others. We just have to go with it, whatever our incredible brave new world is.

  5. We weren't sure what to expect, but I have to say that we loved it! The movie is bright, colorful and FUN! The animation is surprisingly good, and the voice acting top-notch. Usually, movies for younger kids can drag, but this one moved along at a perfect pace, keeping all the kids in the audience enthralled. And I was pleasantly surprised at how FUNNY it was, keeping the adults entertained, too. The filmmakers really did a nice job of making sure all ages can enjoy this.