Sunday, May 08, 2005

Is Googling the new Stalking?

Chances are, you've been googled very recently. I have recently discovered it is the new way to find out about your friends. It's cheaper than hiring a private detective, more socially acceptable than stalking and much, much easier than phone tapping.

I have a friend who seems to think the more times you are mentioned on the internet the more you exist. Alas this is merely an indication of the amount of spare time you have and how prepared you are to use it to do things on the web. Having your own website helps.

What also helps to be found is having an unusual name. If your name is Robert Smith, you will get lost in amongst all of the other Robert Smiths in the world, not to mention all of the many sites dedicated to the lead singer of The Cure.

However, if your name is Hazibob Mansolatournicapopolous, you can be pretty sure there are less people with that name, but you can also be sure people will often spell it wrong, so people may not find all the references to you.

Another secret I have realised is to post articles, pictures or trivia about famous people that internet users are obsessed with (and believe me, most of them are obsessed with something). If you post a picture of Jean-Luc Picard you painted or a song about Star Wars to the tune of a rock classic, this will get propagated around the net by a process known as Spodmosis and very soon one search for your name reveals hundreds of sites mentioning you.

It also helps a great deal if you are famous in the real world or at least have some sort of role (such as performer, writer, CEO or guru) that will mean you are mentioned by other people.

Thus the most prevalent person on the web that I know personally is Claartje van Swaaij who has everything: her own web site (, the unusual name, she performs, she posts frequently and she paints lots of pictures of Jim Carrey.

My other friend Sarah Smith, who has great difficulties with computers, is unemployed, rarely goes out and doesn't paint or watch TV seems to not exist on the Internet at all. In fact I cannot be sure I didn't just make her up. Sorry Sarah.

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