Have you ever tried to Google yourself?
As the Internet becomes larger and as we spend more of our time online, our virtual reputations become more and more important to maintain. While personal privacy is one of the biggest concerns to have, our online reputations are constantly being researched by our family, friends, employers and (probably) Big Brother.
All of those things you said on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, your blog or any message board have an enormous impact on what people think about you. It seems like I hear a new story every week about some John Doe who got fired because he had an inappropriate picture or comment posted online. Long story short, this isn’t something new. . .
. . . but I’ve stumbled into something very interesting. I have not one, but several doppelgangers invading my search results.
Let me take a step backwards for a moment. Wikipedia defines a doppelganger as some one’s double. With a variety of historical and fictional doppelgangers to use as examples, my personal favorite is the character from the Spiderman comics. In case you couldn’t figure it out, he’s the evil clone of Spiderman and does nothing positive for Peter Parker’s secret identity.
Searching for my name (Arthur Kay) on any search engine is likely to give you a pretty large set of results (I was surprised by that!). Google, for example, finds roughly 1.5 million results. Although these people may not look like me, we do share the same name – but (like Spiderman and his Doppelganger) we do not have much else in common.
For starters, there are several quasi-famous people who share my name. Kay Arthur (the inversion of my first/last names) is an internationally known Bible teacher who has written a ton of books. I chuckle a little bit at the thought of sharing a name with this lady, mainly because I’m not the most religious person. I’m also not a woman. Nevertheless, search results for her dominate any search remotely related to my name.
Next on the list is a composer named Arthur Kay. He died about 40 years ago, and I wish I had known more about him before today. This search result is a bit interesting, as I was a Music major in college and have composed a few songs myself (available here). I’d be curious to know if I have any blood relation to this guy – but that’s something I’ll figure out another day.
Then there’s a band called Arthur Kay and the Originals located in the United Kingdom. I’m not really into Ska music, and I’m pretty sure I don’t have any family in the UK. I would pretend I’m his son if it would get me a nice inheritance, but I’m willing to bet he isn’t worth enough money for that ruse to be worth while.
There’s some guy in Houston, Texas too. I know absolutely nothing about him, because no other search results appear about him either. I could ask him to be my friend on Facebook. . . but that might just be werid. Then again, it would be kinda funny.
The bottom line is that there’s next to nothing about me, the real Arthur Kay. The lesson I’ve learned today is that I need to optimize some of my online profiles, my website and this blog to get some more credit for my identity. Lucky for me none of the search results for my name return shady individuals!
Since my original posting, I have spotted a few new doppelgangers:
- “Arthur Kay” disambiguation from WikiPedia… nothing much interesting here (yet)
- An entrepreneur and designer who apparently started a “green” company turning used coffee grounds into bio-fuel.
- Amazon.com sells an electronics/engineering textbook titled Operational Amplifier Noise: Techniques and Tips for Analyzing and Reducing Noise by an Art Kay