Everyone Googles Everyone in New York

November 2, 2007

Have you read Bergdorf Blondes by Plum Sykes?  Honestly, you really should, it’s darkly hilarious.  I love the part when Julie Bergdorf, the heir of Bergdorf Goodman department stores said to her best friend Moi  she just googled the man that Moi set her up with, justifying her action by saying: “Everyone googles everyone in New York!”

So, there I was, sitting on my bed with a laptop and several books lying around, from Candace Bushnell’s Trading Up to Bergdorf Blondes, and I typed my name on the Google search field.  It’s exciting to find out what Google will say about me, and now that I’m a published writer, the hits range from my goodreads account to some online bookstores that are selling my book.  But one hit was particularly very personal: my complete contact data, from address, e-mails, to phone numbers on my high school alumni website (although somewhat psyched that people around the world can actually google me, it also freaked me out a little bit that people around the world – including stalkers – can google me and find everything they need to know to get in touch with me there, thanks to the magic of search engine).

Never before has finding out details about someone – your date, your friends, or your business partners – became so easy.  Let’s say you were sitting at Starbucks, met a guy and started a conversation over coffee, you can just reach your PDA and google him as he’s sipping his espresso and find out some general things about him in split seconds,thanks to the wonder of hot spots.  I googled a couple of my last dates, and I found out where they went to university and where they previously worked.  If we’re talking about the Javanese principle of “bibit, bebet, bobot” of future husband, Google can actually help you learn some of these three.  What if you goggled him and found nothing?  Well, then he’s not worth dating …. hahaha, just kidding, guys!  Anyway, that’s the hard truth, not everyone is searchable by Google, mainly because they haven’t left their footprints on the net, whether it’s in a form of online resume, news website, alumni database, or others.  I googled some of my famous friends (for privacy reasons, they’d rather not be mentioned), and some hundred hits came out: news about their book launch or movie appearance, interviews, and personal websites.

An article at Newsweek magazine argues whether Google has really taken the privacy out of our life, since everything about everyone is publicly available to anyone with Internet access.  Like it or not, once you are a Google material, you can’t stop information about you from going around.  There’s no such thing as “controlled searching.”  The good news is, while you can’t control who has access to your online information, you can somehow control what kind of information you want to be available online.  A career consultant said to me that most employers nowadays google their candidates before interviews.  That’s why, she said, it’s really important for yuppies to have some kind of self-marketing tools available on the web, like personal website or blogs.  These two serves as a window to your daily life and a chance for public to poke into your brains.  From downloadable resume, stories about your life, to your views and thoughts as written in your blogs, they’re all great tools to market yourself.  That’s also why, she said, it’s probably not too wise to put too many party pictures (you and a glass of margarita on the pool side or you and your gang at a rave, for example), although I think it’s also too damn boring if all you have there is your accolades and pictures of you at work (where’s your social life?).

Blog, she said, it’s an excellent way to let people know who you are.  Your writings will show what kinds of issues you’re interested in, and how well you present your thoughts and opinions.  I’m not saying that you should write a column about world hunger or terrorism in your blogs if those are not your main interests.  A short column talking about how you learn bungee jumping or how you deal with your car trouble, for example, can show a lot about your passions in life.  But also be careful not to talk too much about your jobs.  An employee was fired a couple of months ago for including some inside information about his company in his blog, so better let the sensitive issues “ungoogleable.”

So is Google helping us or scaring us?  In a world where everyone googles everyone (and not just in New York), you have the choice to make yourself recognized in ways you’ve never thought about before.  Have you tried googling yourself today?


4 Responses to “Everyone Googles Everyone in New York”

  1. nadia febina Says:

    i tried to google my name and it shows lots of my comments in lots of blogs.. dasar lo**e kabel ya gw, kekekekek.. 🙂

    Iyah, mbeer, now that you know this, gw coba seminim mungkin utk naro info on the net… Mikir2 nih tentang foto2 jg jgn terlalu byk yah… what do you think?

  2. Ika Natassa Says:

    lo**e kabel? hahaha, i love the way you nicknamed it! sama kita, nad. yoi, gw jg coba naro info seminim mungkin, n gw jg baru tau kalo friendster itu googleable ya? tapi klo info standar2 aja boleh lah, skalian promo buku gw hahahaha 🙂

  3. Waffeleisen Says:

    Good Post. I searched the whole net for something like “Everyone Googles Everyone in New York A Piece of My Mind”. Thanks very much, it helped me out.

  4. damay Says:

    Looove Bergdorf’s Blondes:)!

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