Every now and then, you should google yourself.
(I took a break there, just to make sure you did.)
Find anything interesting?
I’m not a pathological self-googler, but I have done so with some irregularity over the past decade or so (have we had google for a decade yet? Was I really enlightened enough to think of the possibility of googling myself at the age of 14? [I was about to write “or that self-absorbed”, but then I read the number 14. Everyone is self-absorbed at 14… Not to pretend I’m not still self-absorbed. Is self-absorbed even a word?] And even if I was enlightened/self-absorbed enough, if google existed and if all other necessary conditions applied, would there have been much of a point?)
The answer to the final question firmly tucked into the parenthesis, is no. If you googled me ten years ago (still assuming google existed), you wouldn’t have found squant (for my pride’s sake, let me assure you that I know what “squant” is. Why? Because I googled it [*pride crumbles*]. You should too – it’s pretty entertaining. I can take another break if you want).
The reason you wouldn’t have found squant when googling me ten years ago (apart from the two obvious ones – a) squant hadn’t even been discovered; and b) you probably didn’t know me, so you had no idea I was googlable. To you, I was owiueuowihgew – I really must try to limit my parentheses, they are becoming very difficult to follow… It’s got to do with my lack of opportunity to use them in my daily writing, methinks… I’ll just start the sentence over for this one, though…)
The primary reason you wouldn’t have found squant when googling me ten years ago is that I hadn’t done squant. I was 14, I had barely an idea that there was a world out there! Fortunately, I have come a little way since then.
A few years ago, when googling me, you’d find a few references to some school work, most notably a project submitted to a competition I participated in. I didn’t win, but my group’s work was displayed online nevertheless. A fairly decent online exposure.
With time, more hits appeared. My Facebook page is there (though it’s a closed profile, so no peek-a-peeking). A few references to stuff I’ve done at the university. Another project I participated in, this time a more serious one with actual employers. Definitely one I am proud to have attached to my name online. Last summer a new hit appeared, possibly the most prestigious-looking one. It’s there, out in the cybersphere, that I’ve been a lecturer at the University of Oslo. Granted, if you actually click on the link, it will reveal that it is for one day only, but perhaps people won’t be bothered to click?
There are also a few non-“professional” hits that I, nevertheless, am quite proud of. Most notably is the link to the Burrow – my notorious writers group – which in these days is hosting a February/Valentine’s feature without me. I am VERY sad to not being able to participate (stupid stupid stupid thesis), but I am also VERY impressed at the amount of work the few of them that were able to participate put down. The result can be found, as usual, at http://www.the-burrow.org/, and I highly recommend everyone to stop by. Whether you prefer sappy, sexy, sarcastic, sadistic, sensual, sympathetic, (in)sane or sweet drabbles, you’ll find it there.
The link between the Burrow and my name, however, isn’t entirely unproblematic to me, personally. It took a long time for me to be comfortable with telling people that I like to write. (Oops, I just told YOU, didn’t I..?) Having a blog, I guess, pretty much lets that particular cat out of the bag, but, as you may have noticed, I don’t write under my real name. Granted, my pseudonym is one that has been sticking with me for a long time, so a lot of people know the true identity of Cruella Collett. But there is a much larger quantity of people in my life who has never even heard of this Cruella-person (they only know the black-and-white puppy killer. I swear we’re not related). I don’t go out of my way to keep my two identities separate, but I don’t actively try to reunite them either.
Which brings me to the final point of my self-googling adventure (you were expecting that all my digressions had made me forget my conclusion altogether, hadn’t you? Well, that is the difference between a regular digressionist and me, the digressionista…). When I, for no reason at all, typed my own name (not my pseudonym) into google, the VERY first hit that came up was my blog.
That’s weird, I thought. How and why is my (actual) name linked to my fake-name written blog?
Then I started to consider the implications. It has become more and more common for people to google each other. Now, anyone who knows my name can find my blog. That is a little scary, to be frank, and it certainly makes me want to consider what it is I am posting here. Not that I am overly controversial, but you know. No more scandalous slandering of identifiable people…
Secondly, it is also very common for employers to google their potential employees. Very soon (or not so soon, depending on whether I manage to finish my thesis on time) I will be in the position of seeking employment. Is there anything in my blog making me less attractive for a potential employer? Perhaps they don’t hire people who make the Tower Bridge in gingerbread?
Ultimately, I don’t really think my blogging will be a problem, professionally or personally. But it did annoy me a little bit that, without my knowledge or approval, my two personas had been interlinked. So I did some research.
And what did I find?
The culprit is to be found right here. Me! I did it. I incriminated myself. I posted my actual name on my blog! Why would I do that? Now it will forever (or until google is eradicated by an electromagnetic pulse in 2012) be linked with my blogginess (blog meeting silliness equals blogginess). Was this the result of some unconscious desire to end the schism that have been hindering the “professional” me from bonding with the “creative” me? This isn’t really a plausible theory, however, since the “professional” me isn’t all that professional. Actually, the “professional” me is fairly creative in its unprofessionalism. Right. Such a good idea to tell potential employers googling me that I am unprofessional…
Oh, well. It’s out there now. Mari, meet Cruella. You were separated at birth, but now you are from now on going to live together like twins. The conjoined kind.