May 7, 2008

Reach Out and Google Someone

I'm ready and willing to admit that I'm guilty of Googling people. I know it can be perceived as sneaky but I'm moderately obsessed with it. And here's proof.

Things I learned by Googling people from my past and present.

  • The first girlfriend I had in high school once I moved to Virginia from Texas now teaches at my old high school. Which I now live behind. In her old neighborhood. Odd the way that works.
  • Someone I work with led a hunger strike at a local university. It's strange because by my estimation she weights about 95 pounds. I wonder if she forgot to stop striking.
  • A former employee of mine is/was related to a now-dead sitcom star and appears to be making successful video games out in California.
  • One of my old neighbors ran for congress several years back. He lost. Big. Which is a good thing because he was a real asshole.
  • A guy I met in a meeting late last week is apparently "One Sexy Thang!!!" according to his My Space profile.
  • Another former girlfriend is now a child advocacy lawyer in South Carolina.
  • One of my best friends from high school might be a porn star.
  • His old high school girlfriend is now a professional mime.

What this shows is twofold. First - and this should come as no surprise to anyone - I run into some really interesting people. Second, everyone leaves virtual fingerprints everywhere they go. In fact - because I know people who know people who do some really interesting shit for a living - I've seen scary-ass versions of online applications that collect every single fragment of your lives and consolidate them into one handy, easy-to-read report. It's scary.

This leads me to two related questions:
- Is Googling people creepy, unethical or just kinda cool?
- Do you Google people? If so, who and what kind of good stuff have you learned?

On another note, I was staring at the horror that is my arm and I think I saw the image of baby Jesus in my rash. With all this rampant pain, I was thinking that while it probably won't fall off by itself, I might just lop the damn thing off. How much do you think I can get for my Weeping Baby Jesus Miracle Arm on Ebay?

Posted by Chris at May 7, 2008 6:31 AM

Hmmm. I've only googled a couple of people in the past but after reading this post I am going to go back and Google everyone I've ever met.

I hope some of them are mimes... or porn stars.

Posted by: Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah at May 7, 2008 7:21 AM

Definitely think they'd want the arm if you put it up on eBay. There is a Buddhist story about giving up your arms in sacrifice or something.

I should Google people more... I really should. I do it pre-interview to see who is interviewing me. And that kind of thing.

Posted by: Nat at May 7, 2008 7:21 AM

and regarding the weeping Jesus miracle arm...

Maybe a buck fifty.

Posted by: Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah at May 7, 2008 7:22 AM

I’m not a religious man, but it sounds to me like the baby Jesus has karmalized your arm for using His baby name in vain.

Oh. And I Google people all the time and don’t see anything wrong with it. Never found anything really juicy though.

Posted by: Bob at May 7, 2008 7:24 AM

I'm guilty of googling. I've dragged out my college yearbooks and googled people from the address list in the back. Never found out anything exciting though. I'll have to try again.

Posted by: Nancy at May 7, 2008 7:28 AM

Oh, you'd better believe I google people! But I don't learn as much, I don't think - seems I know a lot of people with very common names so I'm never really sure if THEY are the ones being referenced. HOWEVER, my former best friend from fifth grade thru early high school went on to do some amazing work with kids to try to prevent them from starting smoking. Cool. And there are a few people I've googled that are embarassingly over involved with World of Warcraft. Beyond that, if I google myself (that sounds kinda dirty), the only hits relevant to me are a few letters to the editor that I've had published in magazines...

Posted by: sarah at May 7, 2008 7:58 AM

I've googled people and I never find anyone of interest. I guess my life has been much more dull than yours.

If the arm doesn't get better with treatment, then hell yes, lop it off and make some moollah! LOL

Only kidding!!!

Posted by: Maribeth at May 7, 2008 8:12 AM

Not creepy.

I google people all the time. I just wish there was a way to find out if people are googling me.

Posted by: William at May 7, 2008 8:12 AM

It's probably odd to google people, but who cares.

I Yahoo people all the time. Nothing interesting has turned up yet.

Posted by: Maria at May 7, 2008 8:21 AM

I've done it, too. Usually it's people I'm trying to get back in touch with and don't have an email address for.

Actually I just did that recently, and while I couldn't come up with an address or email, I did find out what farm my friend buys her eggs from! I guess I could email that lady, but that was getting into creepy stalker territory.

I bet that casino would buy your arm. You'd get about three-fitty.

Posted by: Rachel at May 7, 2008 8:31 AM

I've googled my name before a job interview to see what would turn up. It seems that my maiden name is the name of a famous person on tv right now and my married name is of a famous person in the past. Which I find very odd, however it also makes it difficult to wade thru all the indexes brought up and I'm sure someone would just give up before they came to "me".

I'd give you a hint to the people, but then everyone would know my "real" name(s)and well it is the internet...

Posted by: daisy at May 7, 2008 8:35 AM

You are too young to have shingles, quit lying to us and just tell us how you got herpes on your arm. I'm not laughing at you, I am laughing WITH you.

Posted by: de at May 7, 2008 8:35 AM

You are too young to have shingles, quit lying to us and just tell us how you got herpes on your arm. I'm not laughing at you, I am laughing WITH you.

Posted by: de at May 7, 2008 8:35 AM

Due to a set of circumstances I won't get into, I had to recently google my ex-husband. I'd not seen or spoken to him in well over 10yrs. I found out that I no longer have an ex-husband. Apparently, I now have an ex-"wife".

I'm not sure which was freakier. Finding that out, or not being surprised.

Posted by: varinia at May 7, 2008 8:45 AM

I google people. It's fun to check up on people you used to know and see what they're up to. I don't think it's creepy so long as it's just out of curiosity and you're not using the information for any nefarious purpose.

I also google myself every three months or so; to prevent exactly what you're describing. I don't want any surprises in job interviews or other aspects of my life so the quick google will make sure I've got no digital skeletons in my virtual closet. :-) I'd prefer not to be blindsided in an interview or a client meeting with some mention of personal information.

Posted by: Garth at May 7, 2008 8:55 AM

I google people (including myself) all the time. I never find anything as cool as you do, though. Sad.

Also, however much the Virgin Mary grilled cheese sandwich went for, times three because of the value associated with real body parts.

Posted by: Cassandra at May 7, 2008 9:11 AM

I google people all the time! I even google myself, to find out which work documents I've approved are publicly avaiable (they're not supposed to be). Since I went to high school with the original KathyK (I was KathyC back then), I can find out what she's doing now too. There's also a Harvard professor with my name. No one confuses us, amazingly enough.

For the arm: sounds like a collector's item to me! My recommendation is cool compresses with Domeboro solution (comes in packets at any drug store). Soothes those blisters a bit.

Posted by: KathyK at May 7, 2008 9:13 AM

It could be seen as a bit creepy, but most of us are nosy by nature. I sometimes google an old housemate of mine to see if he has realised his ambition to become the next John Lennon. Funnily enough he hasn't. And that reminds me, I haven't done it for a while!

Posted by: Katherine at May 7, 2008 9:24 AM

I google people now and then. I don't think it's creepy unless they tell you to stop or you are doing it constantly. I did find one of my good friends from junior high. I haven't gotten in touch with him yet, but I'm looking forward to it.

Some people have been harder to find and I'm not sure if that's an age thing or they are just good at staying off the grid.


Posted by: Edge at May 7, 2008 9:38 AM

I've Googled people. I even have a neat Googling story involving you, in a way. I once left a comment on Beth's site about the guy who was my first kiss. He has a fairly distinctive last name, and came accross my comment when Googling himself, and then made his way to my blog. It was fun! It actually made me consider a post all about the people I've lost touch with over the years, just in case they ever Googled themselves, and could then decide to get back in touch.

Posted by: bad penguin at May 7, 2008 9:43 AM

I google people on occasion, and I google myself, too. I don't think it's creepy; it's more curiosity. Unless you do it all the time. That's creepy.

Posted by: Alison at May 7, 2008 9:49 AM

I am very guilty of googling people. I don't think there is anything wrong with it at all.

I've yet to find out anything really interesting though, perhaps I haven't met the right people yet.

Posted by: crookedeyebrow at May 7, 2008 9:51 AM

I google people too...found out that one of my first boyfriends is now considered a "bipolar autistic savant" who is now a gifted musician. Hrm. Anyway - the arm - hope the pain gets better...

Posted by: Sue R at May 7, 2008 10:07 AM

I google people all the time - both for work and for my own curiosity. I even google myselt to find out what strange places articles I've written show up in. Facebook is great for finding people from your past too.

Posted by: Traci at May 7, 2008 10:20 AM

Sadly, I grew up in bfe. Half the people I try to google don't exist digitally. They probably odn't even havecomputers. I need some interesting people to google.

Posted by: ktjrdn at May 7, 2008 10:25 AM

The ability to destroy someone's reputation is so easy these days that Googling anyone in order to find out 'who they are' is an extraordinarily bad idea, albeit a moderately entertaining one.

If you focus your selling demographic on the Latin American countries, I think your 'holy arm' might make you a rich man.

Posted by: You can call me, 'Sir' at May 7, 2008 10:47 AM

ive never googled anyone. but i may start now. sounds like it could be fun. btw, on google....whats the 'i'm feeling lucky' thing all about? seriously, i have no idea.

Posted by: madmom at May 7, 2008 10:53 AM

Google is the devil. I'm succumbed to it's hold a few times. I've never come up with any substantial information, which I guess is good so I won't fall into the "cyber stalker" category. Googling my ex-boyfriend from high school lead me to multiple porn sites. Unfortunately there was no way it was him, he was definately not that well endowed. *sigh* The story of my life.

Posted by: Naughty at May 7, 2008 10:59 AM

I Google everyone! I am the Google Queen as I have the knack for putting in the exact combination of words to yield my desired results, I'm kinda famous for it. I was dating a guy once and he told me he was 35, which he look every day of and no more. I Googled him and found out he was lying, BY 10 YEARS or so! Sad thing is if he'd told the truth I probably wouldn't have been creeped out (hellooooo sugar daddy) but instead I had to dump him on principle. Moral of the story, he is probably now dating (and lavishing lovely gifts on, damnit) some unsuspecting lady who is not Google-saavy.

Posted by: Mymilabean at May 7, 2008 10:59 AM

Actually, I sort of "stalked" my high school crush. I googled him one day, found him in St. Louis, got in touch, his band broke up, he moved back, I found him again. He's now a local rock star. LOL.

I do google some people occasionally, but usually because I want to reconnect with them.

Posted by: oakley at May 7, 2008 11:07 AM

i'll start the bidding at $1.99.

Posted by: jessica at May 7, 2008 11:13 AM

It's like that episode of Little House on the Prairie when Ma gets some sort of abcess on her leg and it gets infected and goopy? And Laura, Mary and Pa are gone so Ma can't get any help. And she starts going all delirious and pulls out this long kitchen knife and just when you think she's going to cut her leg off... TA-DAH! Pa and the kids come rollin' up in their wagon and save the day.

Posted by: GreenCanary at May 7, 2008 11:20 AM

My Google-fu is very, very strong. I can find almost anything with Google.Naturally, I Google people all the time, mostly to see if I can find people I have fallen out of touch with. I don't use it for evil. Usually. ;)

Googling my God-given name reveals an interesting result: porn star. My real name? So not a porn star name. I don't get it.

Posted by: Sparkle Pants at May 7, 2008 11:23 AM

this'll tell you something about me: the person I most google is myself (dirrty!). I realize that it's hard to keep a low profile when you have a blog (or two) and numerous profiles on silly sites (Facebook, I'm looking at you kid) but I take steps to minimize the damage. And so I Google the name every once in a while to see what comes up. So far, so good.

The only other people I google are guys I'm thinking of dating*. And yeah, that makes for interesting reading sometimes. Some people really know how to us a thesaurus to their advantage is all I gotta say to that.

*Which to date has been a very small handful.

Posted by: patricia at May 7, 2008 11:25 AM

I TOTALLY google people! Of course I do. I google myself. Apparently I am an aging professional wrestler, who spells my first name wrong.

Posted by: Jodi at May 7, 2008 1:57 PM

Weeping Baby Jesus Miracle Arm is a groovy band name. Or at least a album title.

Posted by: Jeff at May 7, 2008 2:06 PM

Yep, I google people. It's fun, but not as fruitful as yours have been. The people I'd really like to hear about aren't to be found. Is it possible that not everyone spends all day on a computer? Pssshaww.

P.S. I wouldn't pay the shipping on your nasty, severed, herpes arm. Someone would though.

Posted by: Brad at May 7, 2008 2:25 PM

I google people all the time and can't believe everyone doesn't do it! I haven't really uncovered anything too interesting. I can always tell when people have googled me because they all find the same thing and can't stop themselves from mentioning it.

Posted by: Sandy at May 7, 2008 2:42 PM

I google people quite a bit, especially those from the past.

I found out that I guy I went to school with was killed because he was drunk and hung his head out of a car window and was decapitated. Another guy is a child sex offender, yet he was popular in highschool. And yet one more has become a total crack addict and is routinely arrested for petty crimes (he was voted most likely to succeed). My ex best friend is a stripper. And the man I was engaged to for 4 years still lives with his parents. A winner I tell you.

All interesting stuff. Facebook is another good one for finding out what people are doing.

Posted by: Sleepynita at May 7, 2008 3:52 PM

Mucho bucks for the rash. As far as Google searches - I'm a jeweler, a barrel racer, a synchronized swimmer, etc. Actually, I'm none of the above, but it made for a fun search. And yes, I admit, I've googled others, especially guys I'm considering dating.

Posted by: Heathe at May 7, 2008 5:48 PM

u might want to have that looked at...and eww

Posted by: april at May 7, 2008 11:18 PM

You should take a PICTURE of the Holy Herpes and put it up on eBay as a test run.

Posted by: peggi at May 7, 2008 11:18 PM

If I Googled everyone I know, I doubt I'd be able to come up with all the stuff you've found out! These kinds of crazy things just seem to HAPPEN to you, for some reason... :)

Posted by: Zandria at May 7, 2008 11:23 PM

HAHAH I google EVERYONE. Love it.

I find it odd though, when I google, say an ex boyfriend from 1990 and THERE IS NOT ONE HIT on him. Makes me wonder if he died, you know?

Posted by: Amy at May 8, 2008 3:40 AM

Googling people rocks! I found out that a guy that I went to high school with, who was a complete terror all through school -- I mean this kid could have been the poster boy for ADHD -- is now a scientist. And he and his brother run a hugely successful infrared scanning company. You know what else is fun to do? Search local online Register of Deeds archives, and GIS archives so you can see who bought what homes, what they paid, who they bought it from, and the basic floorplans. Or read their Power of Atty documents etc. Interesting stuff when you have time to kill!

Posted by: coolchick at May 8, 2008 6:36 AM

Funny coincidence, my first high school girlfriend now teaches at my (math) at my old high school too. Did Nadine tell you about our old college classmate, that used to be a guy but now is a girl? We googled him and found her.

Posted by: Freezem at May 8, 2008 7:34 AM

I always Google people. It's so much fun! But, yeah, totally unethical.

What FreezeM said. He (our classmate) contacted me as a she. And I googled her, and found a photo that showed she was in fact the he we knew as he.

Posted by: Nadine at May 8, 2008 1:39 PM

Yeah, I'm a Googler too. But sometimes you find stuff you don't want to know, so I tend to do it less and less. ;-)

Who am I kidding.

Posted by: Mike at May 8, 2008 2:52 PM

When I Google myself, I discover there are a hell of a lot of people with my name, and not one of us is interesting.

Posted by: Gramps at May 8, 2008 3:29 PM

I dunno. I googled my boyfriend, but only because he said it was so hard to do that since a comedian has his same name. :)

Posted by: Poppy at May 8, 2008 10:04 PM

because im crazy. it never even occured to me to google anyone before. but i am hella young. and thanks to facebook, im still farely connected. which kinda pisses me off. i hate facebook. *shakes fist at snoopy uppity folk*

Posted by: Cri at May 9, 2008 7:05 PM

because im crazy. it never even occured to me to google anyone before. but i am hella young. and thanks to facebook, im still farely connected. which kinda pisses me off. i hate facebook. *shakes fist at snoopy uppity folk*

Posted by: Cri at May 9, 2008 7:05 PM

It's oh so very creepy. And so very awesome.

(Also, I wish I had the connections you do. I'm dying to know more about my ex husband.)

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Posted by: Lancel at November 18, 2011 4:45 AM