Saturday, August 26, 2006

Google will find you

Google leaves no stone untouched. Five months ago, about 5 minutes into a blind date set up by mutual friends, she says, “I hope you don’t mind, but I googled you, and I’m fairly impressed.”

Ack. I squirmed a bit, and tried to look unflappable.

Really, what did you read?

Oh, quite a bit, actually.

Goodness, I’ve written about this, specifically! That if you write at all, if you have any existence beyond that of your average J. Alfred Prufrock, Google will find you. Even if it only lists you as a grad student at the college where you are doing your grad studies, chances are, your footprints are around.

Stephen Heiner is a fairly uncommon name. There are only 6 of us in the US, and my dad is one of the others. Steve Heiner is head of marketing or something over at Nikon, so he and I trade off for top spot when you google Stephen Heiner, because when he does interviews with newspapers or online journals, he temporarily unseats me for a couple weeks.

Alas, John Smith would be a better cloak, for I am no corporate bigwig, I’m the punky half-asian journalist/blogger/teacher. How many male Asian-featured Heiners are there? I’d venture this guess – in a world of 5 soon to be 6 billion – I’d say less than a handful. What does this mean for me?

One, it means I’m unemployable by anyone other than myself. My views on religion and politics are out there for everyone to see. I don’t regret them nor will I recant them.

Two, I can never expect to have the “upper hand” in a dating situation ever again. Any gal with half a brain will google me, and in 5 minutes have approximately 10 times my corresponding knowledge of her on that first date.

So let’s get back to that squirm. Hey, who can I blame but myself? I choose to do this – writing – my gift, my curse, as Peter Parker may lament. I’m putting my life out there, and in choosing to do journalistic work and interviews, I’m only going to be more out there as time goes on.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, don’t think you have to stomp around like me to get a footprint on here. Chances are, something’s out there about you.

But I say, be not afraid. If you are who you are, people will either hate, love, or be indifferent to you. Sound anything like real life? Just multiply the amount of people you come into contact with by 100, and you have the virtual world.

And remember, you can take it all back, recant, apologize, cry Swaggart-style, or hit that magical “delete blog” button and it all goes away.

Noli timere.

Providence, Rhode Island

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