17 October 2007

Searching for "yourself"

I have a friend, Ron, in the Program who has enjoyed, at times, playing this 'character' during the course of his life here at Milwaukee. The 'character' is a guy who has just discovered the Internet, is just finding all of these websites and who likes to share with other people his new discoveries: "I was at this website and any word i typed in, it would bring up, like, a million pictures of that thing, i mean, literally, a million, man, can you imagine?"

It's an amusing diversion, but it's recently gotten me thinking...am i still the only one whose sort of blown away by this whole internet thing? I mean this sort of seriously...i was googling myself the other day (does anybody else still do this? if not, don't worry, i've probably googled you recently, so i can tell you about yourself or others who share your same name) and first of all, i was appalled to find that google suggests that when you search "joel seeger" you might instead want to search for "joel siegel". This didn't use to happen, but now it's the first result. It kind of verärgers me.

I remember having a conversation with Dave Wake several years back after i'd met a cute girl at an emergency room... I'd googled her to figure out a little about her, which at the time i thought nothing of, but he informed me that "that's a little creepy." I wasn't convinced, but for the most part i desisted in looking up information on people unless i knew them fairly well, it would strategically help me for some reason (e.g. i'm going in for a job interview with them, or something), or i just really wanted to know more about them.

Anyway, i noticed in googling myself, that my Chips columns were still showing up, but no longer on anything resembling the Chips website. Some other site had co-opted them... When i went to investigate (to see if/who i could sue) they had some sort of disclaimer in their "About Us" section that the copyright for the intellectual content on the website is not theirs and their content is 'spidered' from other websites.

Not only am i continually overwhelmed by the sheer amount of 'information', but how much easier it is to maintain personal relationships with the internet. Before the internet, i would completely ignore my friends for months & years on end, miss their birthdays, steal their pants, i would have to make amends, apologize, or return their pants. Now, i can use the internet to find new friends... so much easier.

Occasionally, i enjoy typing in random words into google... Did you know, for instance, that if you search for "yourself" your first result is a site that tells you how to be yourself? Very useful information. Not only that, but the site that teaches you how to be yourself, wikiHow, can teach you how to do any number of useful things, like make deviled eggs. I love deviled eggs.


Shane said...

the dangerous thing about the internet is that adults are learning to use it. before meeting liz's folks for the first time, her dad told her that he and his secretary looked up my myspace page. luckily there isn't too much incriminating there, but still. lock up your blogs, people. nothing's sacred anymore.

joel said...

a disturbing piece of information, there, shaner. Thank you for staying on top of things.