I’m a self-googler
This is a psychological test. Please answer honestly: 1) Do you have an overestimation of your appearance and your abilities? 2) Do you have an excessive need for admiration? 3) Do you have an Internet connection?
If you answer “yes” to all three questions, celebrate, because no matter how violently you deny it, you are a “self-googler,” an ego-surfer, a narcissistic offspring of the World Wide Web. I said be happy because you belong to half of Internet users on Earth and Mars who are their own stalkers.
Paris Hilton googles herself, Lindsey Lohan googles herself, Tom Cruise googles himself, Mel Gibson, Brandon Davis, Britney Spears, Star Jones, Jessica Simpson, Tara Reid, Michael Jackson – all those people who make up every list of Ten Most Well-Loved Personalities Ha-Ha-Ha in 2007, they google themselves every other five minutes of the time they are not outside making fools of themselves.
So you’re in good company. If you haven’t googled yourself yet, tell me where’s that bomb shelter you’re in so I can send you pizza. Or I can teach you how. Just type ‘I’m-so-lonely-I-Want-To-Know-If-Anybody’s-Thinking-Of-Me-Out-There’ then click, because I assume that’s your name.
The practice of searching for your own name on holy mother Google has now replaced nail polishing as the number one pastime in offices and at home. In a report published last December, the Pew Internet and American Life Project said 47 percent of adult Internet users in the US have looked for information about themselves through Google or other search engines. “What’s my mother’s name again?” they ask themselves then type the words “Kevin Federline – celebridick.”
There’s no similar report for the Philippines because our survey firms here are all in Cebu, Davao and Iloilo trying to figure out which noontime show sucks big-time, Eat Bulaga or Wowowee (answer: both). And the survey might prove disappointing, considering how majority of Pinoys (meaning my neighbors in Sitio Bato-Lata, Barangay Mambaling) don’t have access to computers.
So, why do people stalk their own selves, aside from the obvious narcissistic reason? Alexander Halavais, an assistant professor of communication in the School of Informatics, whose name popped up when I typed “self-googler” so we’re friends now, said: “Self-googling is not simply narcissism, though that’s certainly part of it…People should Google themselves for the same reason corporations do—to help manage their public face.”
And it’s not just about ego-surfing, he said. A self-googler also stalk old flings with whom they have lost touch, but still for the same self-centered reason of knowing how the universe revolves around him.
I found the guy too serious, so I googled myself because I’m narcissistic and I believe the only reason a person googles himself is to check if that picture of him dancing drunk and naked inside Manny’s Bikini Bar last night hasn’t made it to YouTube yet. For comparison, I also googled other prominent names in politics and entertainment. The personality who gets the most results wins.
Here goes: Joseph Estrada – 380,000; Hillary Clinton – 14,500,000; The Beatles – 63,000,000; Lorenzo Niñal – 7.
Well, OK. At least I have a column.
(sun.star cebu, january 15, 2007)