Go Google yourself

If you’re going to Google yourself, you first should make sure no one is watching.

It can be embarrassing if you’re caught running your own name through Google’s search engines. Others might think it egotistical that you keep track of how often you’re mentioned out there on the Greater Interwebs. What if the searches don’t turn up much? Worse yet, what if there are more mentions of people with the same name as you?

Such searches can feel like a measure of popularity, similar to the number of times you were pictured in your high school yearbook. A low number of search “hits” might make you feel unpopular and unloved. You might be tempted to put your name on more websites to get your numbers up, sort of like the graffiti “artists” who proclaim their existence on public buildings and railroad cars. That’s just sad.

I confess that I Google myself regularly. I have solid, business-related reasons for doing so. I’m searching for reviews of my books and I’m checking on websites where my column turns up. I’ve got this blog (which sounds like a medical condition), and I’m frequently named on other authors’ blogs. Every mention might result in more book sales, so I’ve got to keep track. Or so I tell myself.

The truth, I fear, is closer to the yearbook analogy. I’m the nerdy kids who’s flipping through pages, hoping to see himself in the Chess Club photo or in the background of crowd shots.

When I search for “Steve Brewer” on Google, it turns up more than 28,000 “hits.” It’s a more common name than I ever would’ve thought.

Probably the most famous Steve Brewer is a foul-mouthed comedian from Detroit who performs at nightclubs around the country and has appeared on Showtime. There’s also a Steve Brewer in San Diego who’s a “one-man concert band.” I hope to see him perform someday.

Other Steve Brewers include a boxer in Idaho; a minister in East Wenatchee, WA; a chef from Fort Lauderdale, FL; a biology professor at the University of Mississipppi; a high school football coach in Tennessee; a county official in North Carolina, and a state senator in Massachusetts. All of them get regular mentions on the Internet.

Steve Brewers run a landscape company in Atlanta, an engineering firm in New Hampshire, a home-building company in Alabama and an investment banking firm in Texas. I’m sure all those Steve Brewers are richer than me, but I’ve got more hits on Google.

Two different towns in Texas -- La Feria and Mexia -- have or had mayors named Steve Brewer. They pop up regularly in news stories online.

There are Steve Brewers in Great Britain who are quoted regularly in news articles: a police inspector in Stanway and (my personal favorite) a watch manager at the Dorking fire station.

I’ve never met another Steve Brewer in person, but I’ve communicated with a few by e-mail. They always respond with something like: “Oh, you’re THAT Steve Brewer. The one who’s all over the Internet.” Which tells me they’ve Googled our mutual name. I get a smug satisfaction out of knowing they must sort through all my hits to get to their own.

Not that I’m counting.


Life without Clots said...

I know what you mean. The other Larrys have such horrible lives...ones a VP, another is a State Farm agent. Heck, there is even another Larry on LinkedIn.

Hal Johnson said...

Hm. The Hal Johnson who steals my thunder on Google searches is a TV fitness personality in Canada. The sorrow.

Anonymous said...

Conversation Monday at the 'ol paper mill:
Boss man: "Did you know there's a flak for the Vermont forest service named Jason Gibbs?" Me: "Yup, a race car driver, too." Boss: "How the hell did you know that?" Me: "You should see what pops up when I google your name."