He’s got a crush on Cheryl Cole and he likes ‘Googling’ himself, it’s nice to know that 16-year-old Canadian pop-sensation Justin Bieber hasn’t let fame change him … yep, he’s just like the rest of us. These ‘shocking’ truths were revealed by fellow music star Sean Kingston in an interview with Myspace. Kingston claims to not search for his own name (really?) … but just how much ‘self-googling is going on, and why?
Well, quite a lot it seems. The twin centres of Internet research (Australia and Switzerland) combined recently to produce a study called Google Yourself! Measuring the performance of personalized information resource. It analysed millions of Google searches and concluded that the trend of ‘self searching’ was definitely on the up.
But why are people doing it?
One argument is that we live in an increasingly narcissistic society fuelled by the big media machine that tells us all that we all have the right, neigh the duty, to aspire to fame (even if that means posting a video of ourselves performing a sex act on the Internet) … it’s all good. A new generation of youngsters is growing up wanting a profile of some sort … and the easiest place to get that is online.
A second school of thought (which need not be completely exclusive) argues that increasingly people are recognising the social networking and profiling power of the search engine, and therefore are far more concerned about what a Google search on their name returns.
Potential employers might perform a search to check your work history, a new girlfriend might do a little cyber stalking to see what skeletons are in your electronic cupboard … and who knows, maybe even your parents are watching you via fibre optics from a far?
So the argument goes that we need to protect our Google search results (especially if you have an unusual-ish name.) If you’re called John Smith you can probably get away with it, but for example if I Google myself … everything that comes up is me … so it better not be embarrassing.
Is there anything I can do about all this, I hear you ask? Well, yes and no.
Although it is impossible to fully remove and add what you want to the Google search on your name, Google do allow you to add a Google Profile. This is essentially a self tailored Facebook style page that you can add pictures and information to, and ensure corrects any mis-information (or truths that you are trying to hide) in other searches.
If you create one of these pages it appears at the bottom of the searches under your name … and you guessed it, the more information you add (oh greedy Google) the better the page is returned within the search engines. You can put links to other social networks, feeds, pictures (your bank details if you like!) and links to friends and family on there, essentially it’s Facebook for people that want to be cool with the big G, and everything you add will act as a keyword.
So, if all goes well, you’ll be able to supersede all the real information about your checkered work history, liaisons with women of the night and embarrassing photos from Vegas, and replace them with Google profile pics of you doing charity work and stroking fluffy bunny rabbits …
Who said the 21st Century was Orwellian? Winston Smith never Googled himself.