Wednesday, August 10, 2011

What's in a name? - finding yourself on Google

Have you ever typed your own name in the Google toolbar on your computer just to see what pops up?  I did it a couple of years ago and nada - nothing.  We have an unlisted phone number so I wasn't even listed in the white pages.  I felt like a nobody - I didn't exist.  Now that the search engines are reaching farther and wider, it's more likely that your name - or someone else with your name - will pop up several times when you type it into the toolbar.  My name is not a common name, so the chances of finding something about myself will be far easier than if my name were Jane Smith or Mary Jones.  There are really not a lot of Glenda's in the world and the odds of one of them marrying someone with my husband's surname are slim.  For instance, the white pages say there are only three people with my name in the U.S. and all three are in North or South Carolina.  Isn't that odd?  Maybe Glenda is a Southern name.   My name comes from my father's first name which was also his mother's maiden name - Glenn.

What made me even think about googling names was a recent genealogy quest.  You can type in a long dead relative's name and it's likely that it'll pop up on or some other genealogy website.  If you have a birth date to go along with it, it will narrow it down even further.  It can be frustrating if you don't know much about your family, but I'm fortunate that others in my family before me were diligent about researching our family when it was done the hard way - courthouse records.  Wouldn't the internet have made it so much easier for them?

Google and other search engines have put the world at our fingertips.  They've made the encyclopedias we pored through as children obsolete - and dictionaries - I don't even know where mine is anymore.  

Today I typed my name in Google just to see what would come up now.  Not much, but I am there.  The local papers did a "Meet your Neighbor" featuring me this summer - Lancaster News and Carolina Gateway.  Several of my blog posts show up.  A short story I wrote in a Writer's Digest contest was there.  Even a health question I asked about not being able to do a certain yoga pose showed up.  Wow!  I'm famous - or maybe it's infamous.  Even Olive is famous.  When you type in Olive and her chick Rube, several of her stories show up. 

Oops, that "Meet your Neighbor" issue has my age for all the world to see!  How do I unGoogle myself?  Oh well, no one ever said being famous would be easy.  Type your name in that Google bar - I'll bet you're famous too.


  1. I am there - or at least someone with the same name is there posing as me!

  2. Wow! Jane, I'm impressed. I just googled your name. I didn't know you were an attorney, a published author and had a PH.D. You've been holding out on us, lol.

  3. Jane....I'm finding the internet is amazing, but also frightening! I'm fighting to learn SEO so I can get my website on the first page of Google, but do NOT want to see my name and phone no, etc, so easily found. It's a real oxymoron!!

  4. I had tried so hard to keep my personal information off the computer, but a silly little feature on me with a local newspaper put it out there for all the world to see :(
    Sometimes you just can't win for losing.

  5. Yes, I'm there on Google too! As you say, there could be information on there that you don't really want to be there. I don't think my age is on there though!!!

  6. it's a little scary that our lives are out there....whether we want them to be or not....

  7. Thanks for visiting. I google me too! Wow! I'm actually there. How did that happen?


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