There is a fantastic article in the new Poets and Writers by Frank Bures titled "I Google myself, therefore I am." As someone who Googles his own name on a daily basis, this one really hit home and, in some sad and ridiculous sense, gave me comfort in knowingly that I am not the only one with this solipsistic obsession. There are, in fact, many people as self-absorbed and painstakingly insecure as myself.
However, seeing Mr. Bures must have been writing with a strict word count, I'd like to pick up on a few things he missed, more minutiae that I believe are deserving of mention and/or clarification.
1. Quotation marks. When Googling my own name, it's not a one-time, buckshot search. I actually Google my name twice: first, with quotation marks around the name, then without them. Although the searches net mostly the same results, the first search is more specific, meaning it will give me the results of the hits that have "nathan" followed by "graziano." The second, broader search can pick up things that might have the words "nathan" and "graziano" in close proximity. The broader search sometimes gives you results that the specific search won't show, but it's a far more time consuming and laborious search because the number of pages to comb through is nearly infinite. But one who is consumed with validating their existence and worth through a search engine cannot afford to be slipshod.
2. Variations of my first name. Although I publish under Nathan Graziano, my colleagues, friends, and family call me Nate. Therefore, a search under simply "nathan graziano" might not show me places--- such as friends' websites or blogs--- where I'm being mentioned as Nate Graziano. Now, you might be asking yourself, "Wouldn't the broader search without the quotation marks show the hits for "nate graziano." Sometimes. But when Googling your name, you can never be too circumspect.
3. Family. If I have the time, say another 10 minutes during my lunch break, I will search the names of my wife and kids plus my own (for example: "paige graziano+nathan graziano") to see what type of profound role I play in their cyber-lives. It's important to remember, as Mr. Bures so poignantly writes, that this whole thing is an existentially vacuous endeavor. It is something that only someone who is egotistical and paranoid would do think of doing on a daily basis. So it seems perfectly plausible that someone who is obsessed with Googling their name would want the added vainglorious praise of seeing how those close to them are affected by their internet presence as well.
All of this talk has whetted my appetite. It's time to do the deed...