Sunday, June 18, 2006

Google Yourself

I'm sure you've done it; everybody has these days. You've searched for your name just to see what comes up. I've done it too.

I also look up my friends every once in a while, past and present. It's strange how some people - regular people - have such a large online presence, while others may as well not exist. It's double-strange when you search for someone with an uncommon name and get zero results... as if confirming both that they are utterly unique in the world as well as utterly irrelevant.

I have the opposite problem. I have two blogs, I write in various forums, I maintain the content for a very large corporate web site, I have a quite popular personal homepage (linked from; I assumed it'd be all I could do to remain anonymous, and that my name would be out there despite my best efforts. And it probably is, but it's also buried under about 1,000 other Jeff Williams' who are all apparently more famous and more accomplished than I am. One of them is an astronaut. Another is a baseball player (born literally a day after me), and still another plays hockey. One is a university professor. But me, I don't come up anywhere in the first 20 pages of search results.

There are 21 entries for Jeff Williams in IMDB. I'm one of them - oh, I won't tell you which one, but I'm there. But the point is I'm one of many, and I just get lost in the crowd. It's a little humbling, in a way.

I should be pleased that I've managed to protect my anonymity, where others seem to have such a problem with online identity theft or embarrassing personal revelations. But the truth is I've always wanted people to be able to find me if they made the effort; especially otherwise long-lost friends.

It's both strange and a little sad to look at Google search results as a summary of the worth of your life's work. Probably not a good idea to do so in the first place. But then, I am a little drunk.

About This Blog

This is increasingly not a blog about Alphabet City, New York. I used to live in the East Village and work on Avenue B, but I no longer do. Why don't I change the name if I'm writing about Japan and video games and guitars? Because New Yorkers are well-rounded people with varied interests, and mine have gone increasingly off the rails over the years. And I don't feel like changing the name. I do still write about New York City sometimes.


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