Thursday, December 29, 2005

The Dangers of Looking Up Yourself

Own up, who doesn't? Do a vanity search on t'internet I mean. Every now and again I can't resist the urge to see where I float around in cyberspace and usually it's the same old tosh that turns up every time.

I'm blessed in that I have a relatively unusual name that I share only with an eminent US lawyer, a retired US Navy Lieutenant Colonel and some dead people, so I'm not hard to find. I usually give up after a few minutes when I've been through the old familiar school guestbooks and miscellaneous forum postings.

I've been on the internet for a meagre 6 years and I've kept a fairly low profile although some of my early appearances are naive in the extreme, even including the odd address (an old one, mind, so no ideas). and there aren't a great deal of entries before you're into the obscure local census entries from Nova Scotia.

This time I was a little bit more persistant and went to the last couple of pages of results and it was surprising and not a little scary. First there was a letter I wrote to The Independent, printed in full and for some bizarre reason appearing on what appeared to be a classical music site. A bit surreal because it was actually a little jokey bit about phonetics in reply to an Australian academic's daft theory on spelling. I never knew if the Indie had a slow day or they were taking the mick but it was good to see it printed with only minimal editing. Why suddenly appear after over 5 years though?

Then, on the final page, was an odd entry and although partly in some Slavic language, sure enough, there was my name next to Sharon's. I couldn't believe it when I clicked on the link and saw the most appalling photograph, taken 18 months ago in a vain effort to promote a website we'd just launched. Sharon had an interesting story that was pertinent to the website and it was taken up by a freelancer and sold to a very prominent women's magazine. The hack's boyfriend was a photographer and he took a few snaps. One was used in the subsequent article and this was the spare. Not only did the article not mention the website once, it was a complete hatchet job and full of utter bollocks. Also, the photo made Sharon look like a drunk 80 year old who'd left her teeth by the bed. Professionals, eh? Only one question though: why syndicate it? Who on earth would want it? Even the tagline to the photo is wrong!

So, vanity search at your peril. Scared the crap out of me, I can tell you.

0 Vegetable peelings:

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