Egosurfing: Don't Try to Act All Innocent

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Egosurfing: Don't Try to Act All Innocent

By Mrs. Julien | Comment Diversions | December 29, 2012 | Comments ()


I googled myself today. My real name, not my Pajibanym. Here is what I learned:

  1. This is me:

    not me 2.jpg

  2. The only actual photo of me on the internet is pretty good. From 1999, it was taken the day before a depressing personal milestone, so there's that.
  3. Where I work and what I do there.
  4. I'm a Republican. Since I can't vote, I've decided to find this amusing.
  5. Two people linked to that list I got on McSweeney's that time.
  6. I really like book purses on Etsy.
  7. Apparently, I am the only person with my name on the planet.
  8. My copyright for that reality show I thought of.

I won't pretend it's the first time I have looked myself up, nor will I pretend that on slow days at work, I haven't googled people I know/used to know.

Have you ever googled yourself? Have you ever googled someone you used to know and found out something interesting? Of course, you have. Do tell.

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  • seanfast

    my last name is too common a word that i can't really google myself :(
    i always get results that are part of a larger phrase, such as "here is a picture of [sean fast] asleep on the couch where we wrote on his face with a marker"

  • Guest

    I'm a British folksinger. I'm also a photographer. I'm that awesome.

  • competitivenonfiction

    My maiden name is Heather English and is super common. We are a female basketball player, a purse-maker, and a writer for xo Jane. According to the image search, We're all white and mostly brunette, with the same vague Irish look.There are 40 of us on LinkedIn and I'm virtually hidden on facebook. I love the anonymity in numbers, and now that I'm hyphenated, I feel oddly exposed,

  • Buck Forty

    When I googled myself I found only one result that was really me. It was a link to a blog someone had written 5 years earlier, in which they spoke of something I'd supposedly done 10 years before which had offended the blogger. Naively thinking I couldn't allow this stain on my good name to be sitting on THE WORLD WIDE WEB for, like, *EVER* I foolishly decided to add a comment to the blog saying this thing from 15 years earlier "never happened".

    The blogger replied, saying that that might be *my* opinion but she trusted her sources so would beg to differ. Oops, did I forget to mention that someone blogged about me doing some heinous act 10 years after the fact (but which I then didn't find out about until 5 years later) based simply on her memory of what someone had told her?

    It's still there on the Internet.

  • TheOriginalMRod

    Apparently I am a really fast high school student. This is of course not true, I think my best 5k time was 38 or 43 minutes. But I can't remember.

  • AvaLehra

    I'm a successful Venezuelan swim suit designer!

  • Jeremiah

    My name is Jeremiah Johnson. Guess what comes up, fellow movie buffs, when I google my name.

  • HasenKlub

    My Google image search was rather interesting mostly because the apparent great lengths Google has gone to in not showing my face.

    First, I guess I share the name of a professional cyclist. I don't know how famous he is, but basically every page is mostly pics of him.

    Now, this is where it gets weird. The first sign of me is on page 22 and is a few pics of inanimate objects I took at two particular events. I'm not in the pictures but they are from a Picasa web album. The first actual picture of me is on page 31. But you can only see my eyes, because I'm wearing a full face mask, scarf, toboggan, and winter coat. It was taken while snowboarding.

    The next is on page 35 and is a profile picture from my St. Baldrick's page. If you haven't heard of them, they raise money for child cancer research through head-shaving events usually taking place around St. Patrick's Day. I had been growing my hair out for about 1.5 years just so I could participate in this as well as donate my hair to other cancer victims. Well, since this picture was functioning as my "before shot," I had let all of my hair drape down in front of my face, effectively covering it all as it was lower than my chin.

    So there it is, only two pics of me come up and in both I am going to lengths to obscure my face...

  • Maguita NYC

    You mean to tell me you went ALL THE WAY through 35 pages of a Google name search?

    You sir, are without a doubt THE EGOSURFER par excellence! You win all of the ego-internets of the year. And I wish you a very Happy New Year indeed!

  • HasenKlub

    Well, to be honest, all you do is just scroll down, but your point is taken. :-)

    But mainly I just wanted to see something besides that damn smug cyclist!

  • BlackRabbit

    *Sigh* The only stuff (except for the twitter account of a Kardashiansque lady in LA is my own. No fun alternative lives here. On the other hand, apparently I'm unique.

  • SabrinaHatesDisqus

    Some doctors, some lawyers, a "fine artist," people living in other countries, other people's LinkedIn and Facebook pages, and my Pinterest account. Which makes me think, shit, I need to stop cursing so much on Pinterest.

  • Kballs

    I did some writing on the internet a few years back, so those stories always pop up to remind me why I stopped. My first name is a much less common spelling of the name and my last name is fairly uncommon, so not much else pops up. I am all alone in the interwilderness aside from some dude in Alabama with a Facebook account. I'm gonna friend him and hope he doesn't decide to kill me. You know, highlander, obvs.

  • Kirstini

    I stopped the egogoogle in 2007. Reason: I used to work as an arts journalist and reviewer. I interviewed a long-time musician hero of mine who answered in monosyllables and refused to actually answer any of my questions, meaning that I ended up with a pretty rubbish article. Egogoogle revealed my journalism skills ripped to shreds on a fan forum. Decided from then on I didn't want to know, and it's served me well: a couple of years ago I gave a bad review to a comedian who emailed me three weeks later to ask why I hadn't responded to the hate blog about me he'd put up (the sweet fellow handily provided me with a link and everything).
    I'm much happier not knowing. It's fine.

  • Bistro

    I have a pretty uncommon last name, so when I googled myself the first time, I was actually surprised to see some results for another person. Apparently there's a guy in Oklahoma involved in motorboat sales and competitions who shares my name. But usually most of the hits are for the real me; and as I work professionally in theater, they're almost all links to reviews or play info pages.

  • Sara Habein

    All the results are me since my last name is rare. Of course, without fail, the example they pull from Twitter is usually the most ridiculous thought I posted and not actually anything interesting. But most of the time,the links are just the actual writing of mine, so that's good.

  • damnitjanet

    If I Google my former last name, I come up with all the articles about meeting the President (not many Bonnie Locchetta's out there.) However, now that my name is MUCH more common, I have found there are over 1,800 people in the US with my name...including the dumbass who fell off of a pier while texting. Which I would totally do.

  • BierceAmbrose

    Oddly, in the several places I've lived I've had pre-Google name collisions. There's always been someone of minor renown with my name but not me. One was a Xerox executive. Another a lawyer.

    I choose to believe that we are all the same person.

    Google lately says that we - all of me - are a professor and writer on environmental issues & another college professor, an astronomer. I learned last week that we were once a pretty well known political operative. We are by name related to a semi-famous American actress who apparently has *actual* relatives with *our* name. I'm hoping for confusion with inheritance issues, or maybe I can create son. Sadly, I'm too old to be her son, and too young to be her father. At one time we were the name for a semi-famous American actor, now deceased. Thankfully the jokes about his name died out shortly after he did.

    I keep a low e-profile, so without the title or publishers even *I* can't find the stuff I've published. Kinda proud about that.

    Googling for the title of one thing, a while back, I discovered that one of the pub's board of whatever had put out a point by point rebuttal of what I didn't say. Didn't bother to let me know. Misused what I had said, and quoted way beyond fair use. That one came out on top of the search, which quite pissed me off. Does wonders when HR types Google for your work. That same piece - mine not his - being cited in one book and three articles at last count, ya gotta dig for, while the blogplause at the time has fallen down the memory hole.

    I'm kinda amused because I wasn't trying to get referenced - I'm not an academic. He clearly is and does.

    In the correspondence that followed, content-hijacker-guy claimed he was trying to encourage a conversation by leaving me out of it, apparently. The publisher was contrite and offered to gladly publish anything more I had.

    Copyright for other uses remains with me. The piece fits with a book in progress that's got great interest when I tease it. "That needs to be written." is one quote. "Where did you publish this?" when I riff on some of the content. So, really all I have to decide now about this incident is how petty to be when I publish it again. Hijack-guy in his misunderstanding and behavior actually illustrated something important about the topic.

    I don't ego search any more. God knows what else I'll find.

  • BobbFrapples

    *sigh* There are a lot of obituaries that feature my name. It looks lik my name was popular about eighty years ago.

  • Zirza

    There are four me's inn the world. They all live in the Netherlands, which makes sense as I have a very Dutch name. I am good at twirling and I once won a prize at a library, though I'm not sure what for. I'm also rather Butch and love playing hockey and basketball. Oh, and I can download my own MA thesis as a free e-book.

  • Mrs. Julien

    What do you twirl?

  • Zirza

    Since I am apparently six years old I'd like to think a baton, and nothing more.

  • Arran

    My first name/last name combo is actually unique, it appears. If you Google my name, the first handful of results are various public profiles on websites, a couple of book reviews I wrote, and then it goes into people with my surname on the Isle of Arran in Scotland (which is what I was named after).

    I feel special.

  • PDamian

    I'm on the faculty of a small Midwestern no-name state college, and I'm astonished at the number of people with my name who are also in education. Someone with my name is an elementary school administrator in Sonora, Mexico, a high school chemistry teacher in Panama City, Panama, and a PhD candidate at a university in the Pacific Northwest. And those are just a few of them. On the other hand, I also share the name of a 43-year-old prostitute in Tampa, Florida.

  • Scully

    I am a diamond store owner living in California. How rude that I didn't gift myself a new necklace this Christmas.

  • Ponytail

    39 hits, all me, because I'm the only one in the world with my name. 30 hits connected to a paper I was co-author on, 3 hits on electoral register-type sites and 6 linked to a previous job. As my name is unique, I tend not to use it that often, and use a shortened version for Facebook, Twitter, blogs etc.

  • ,

    Of course I have. Besides my mundane actual life*, I'm a musician of some minor repute and, I think, a doctor of some renown, among other things.

    I rarely Google old "friends" because I just don't have that many (two). I pretty much hated high school, and haven't associated with anyone from college (except the aforementioned two) in three decades, and really, I just don't care. Maybe I'm antisocial ...

    Anyway, there was one girl from high school I did bother to look up. I use her as an example of how shallow and/or timid and/or arrogant I was back then. She was not especially much to look at, had a big beaky nose and was flat as a board, but she was really smart and bright and alive in a way I remember few people I've met ever being, and if I hadn't been an idiot and had I looked beyond appearances, well, who knows? If you look back on all the little things you didn't do in your life, the roads you didn't take, and consider how your entire life and the lives of many other people would be entirely different if you had taken just one of them ... well, you could make yourself nuts.

    Anyway, I looked her up and she's now a professor at a major university, appears to be well-respected, probably very well paid.

    Aw shit.

    Mrs. Julien, I'm curious: Why can't you vote? Have you been convicted of a felony? Are you a murderess? Bank robber? Terrorist? Ooooo, the mind boggles at the possibilities for your Dark Side.**

    *--Except for my hour and a half of fame, five appearances on a very popular syndicated game show, which are archived online. I was looking at them again the other day, by coincidence.

    **--Or maybe you're just not a U.S. citizen. How boring.

  • Mrs. Julien

    It's the boring one. Though two of those other reasons are also valid, but I've never been convicted.

  • ZombieMrsSmith

    Lucky me, I'm a hyphenated married lady so my name is fairly uncommon. First up on Google search is LinkedIn and my Behance portfolio. Good news since I am actively job-hunting. Image search brings up portfolio pics and some pics my daughter took of a sewing project we made. There is a pic of me on the first page, but only one.

    I did find out that a woman with the same maiden name as mine was murdered—along with her two children—by her husband, and Ann Rule wrote a book about it. I wouldn't be surprised if there is a Lifetime movie as well. I'm super glad I went hyphenated, because otherwise my "married" name would be the same as a woman who drowned her two children in her car to free up more time for her boyfriend and was a huge news story about 18 years ago.

    I've learned that I am much less exciting to search than other people with my name. I am totally cool with that.

  • barlowjk

    Of course, when googling yourself, the results you'll get on your own device while signed in to your Gmail and/or Google+ account are going to be very different than the ones I get when I am googling you. Unless you clear your search cache and delete your search history and cookies regularly. Odds are the results will even be a little different at work and at home, since you search for different stuff at those places (I assume).

    Everyone knows this, right?

  • Buck Forty

    yeah, I saw something on the web a while back (a TED speech?) talking about how Google and other search engines actually filter the results they give you based on the data they have on you ie they give you what they think you want to know. So people asking for exactly the same things (using the exact same words) but in different countries will get completely different 'results'.

  • barlowjk

    That is correct. If you try searching your name on a search engine that doesn't do that, e.g. DuckDuckGo, you'll find the results are very different and you must be far more specific to find yourself.

  • superASENTE

    The name 'Asente' is exclusive to my family. In its original form it would be spelled 'Assenti,' but my illiterate great-grandfather could not spell his name when he stepped off the boat on Ellis island, so they mis-spelled it for him.

    So when I Google 'Matthew Asente' I'm Googling the only person on the planet with that name, and therefore learning only things about myself, which I should already know.

    There IS a 'Matthew Assenti' in Pennsylvania who is a methodist and who was recently married in October of this year. He's 26 years old. Congratulations Mr. Assenti, who is probably one of my distant cousins.

  • Mitchell Hundred

    My actual name is the same as the name of a secondary character who was on a (reportedly very good) TV show for a couple of seasons, so often he will turn up.

    And my surname can also be interpreted to mean something dirty, so sometimes I'll get a video of a guy with my first name having a nasty thing done to him.

  • denesteak

    Yea, my web presence is pretty visible, which is both to my advantage and chagrin. The shortened version of my name yields my twitter site, among other related stuff (yup, photos as well). My full name, which is pretty unique, brings up articles that I've written, including some pretty embarrassing ones. Four years ago, my name used to bring up some name of a tribe, as well as some high school related schtuff, so I guess it's a good thing for me and my job that I'm more visible now.

    I guess. I hate that some of the articles I wrote in college is still like the 5th thing that comes up though.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    I'm an egotist, and I google myself fairly often. I'm also in the performing arts (as I said, egotist), and the only one of my name in the country, so a decent number of hits for me, and a fair amount of images/recordings, even though I'm not on social media.

    I also google others - friends, former friends, exes, people I went to high school with. I'm just curious and often bored at the dayjob. And not on Facebook.

  • ZombieNurse

    With my maiden name, I'm a semi-popular actress from a smoopy tv drama from the late 80s/early 90s. My married name brings up my blog, and links to a singer with my name. Also, and it isn't my name, if you google FFA Official Dress for girls, you'll see a high school picture of me.

  • Samantha Klein

    Married name: Race results, exhibition catalogs from my time at a northeastern liberal arts college. Also: I live in Chicago? OR, I could be an actress, a makeup artist, or a lawyer.
    Maiden name: Mostly fencing results, although those are several pages back by this time. Lots of Twitter accounts that don't belong to me.

  • Samantha Klein

    Also, using my full name (?), an acknowledgement in a book for which someone apparently did research at the Cal State school where I once worked. Huh. Never knew about that.

  • Pajiba_Pragmatist

    I have a name that is (now) unisex, so that makes for some very interesting image searches! My real picture comes up on the first row, but no longer first - first is a very scantily clad young woman.

    There's also a tattoo artist (male) with the same name, some kind of real estate group, and a backwoods wood artist (female).

    A search of the web for the real me is kind of random, but a Google News search shows a pretty steady stream of news articles. looks like about 500 in the past week - but that's kind of cheating since one is an AP piece. So that's really just one article re-published 350 times.

    Meh, I've found the best ego surfing comes from being on "All Things Considered", PBS NewsHour on the TV, or "Morning Edition". Yah show up on one of those and every former teacher/parole officer you ever had sends you an email or calls. I do Fox News, nobody calls...

  • mb

    The only real result when I search my name is one of those horrible 'mylife' sites. No other matches, and certainly no photos of me. Considering I've been on the internet since I started middle school in 1995, I'm pretty proud of my net-anonymity!

  • BWeaves

    I google myself about once a year or so, to make sure I'm not wanted for anything evil. Usually, I just find all the magazine articles I've written, and a few weaving sites.

  • Rochelle

    No! Why did Bristol Palin's image come up when I searched my name? Our names are not remotely similar and the the only thing we have in common is that we are both white, female and American. This is why you shouldn't google yourself.

  • Maguita NYC

    No! Please tell me your real name isn't Alaskan Brainfart!!!

  • Rochelle

    It's also not famewhore McGee.

  • Maguita NYC

    I really-really tried to keep it PC... You have no idea how painful it was for me to stop at Brainfart.

    It is still smarting btw.

  • frank247

    Apparently I am a famous American Comic book artist.

  • F'mal DeHyde

    With a name like Mary Smith, I could be anyone I wanted. I've got a lot of wiki entries to choose from too.

  • Most of the results are me. I have a fairly open internet profile, having long since determined that I'm not running for office. A little weird when a coworker found my short, dark fiction, but I've got no need to hide that, either. God bless academic freedom.

  • foolsage

    I'm either an attractive black woman, or I'm Russell Crowe, apparently. Well, according to the Google image search, those are the most likely options. The Google web search actually gives some links to stuff related to me on the first page, but only if I use my full name. Oh patent search engines, at least you still love me.

  • Meaux

    Whoa, I wasn't going to bother playing since my married name is hyphenated, and thereby rendered pretty unique. But out of curiosity, I googled my maiden name, and apparently name twin of mine had a bad breakup with a bitter gentleman who has since started a blog entitled "I Really Hate [firstname lastname]". Um...dude has got some issues. I think my name twin is better off without him....

  • Maguita NYC

    No need to fib, we're like a dysfunctional-functional family here on Pajiba: That WAS your ex who "Really Hates "Meaux", admit it!

  • Meaux

    Bless me, Sister Maguita, I cannot tell a lie....

  • Maguita NYC

    Holy night of slutty interns I forgive thee. As penance, please fervently raise Cain with 10 Bloody Marys.

  • Kiddo

    I can't Google myself. I share a name (same spelling and all) with a certain fictional character (and surprisingly, a German pop singer).

  • spoobnooble

    David Hasselhoff?

  • Salieri2

    Sarah Connor?

  • Kiddo


  • Fabius_Maximus

    I don't know which would be worse (Hasslehoff is not German, though).

  • I Googled my full name. My middle name (which I won't say to keep my privacy) is a name from a famous literary work and is also my son's first name. I found that there is an artist with my first and last name that has a painting called "The death of (middle name)".

  • Fabius_Maximus

    I just looked myself up, and found nothing I didn't expect. A few articles and book reviews I wrote quite some time ago, the book I translated (although one site shows me as the author), the video game I was focus tester for, and my Xing profile (that's like LinkedIn, only for Germany).

  • Ziver

    I can never find anything personal about myself because apparently I'm a hospital in Michigan. Everything I find is a news article about said hospital

  • frank247

    You're the Kalamazoo Psychiatric Hospital?


  • Idgiepug

    I have a common name, so a google search yields too many results. Inspired by your question, though, I looked up all the people with my name who have teaching licenses in my state. There are seven of us, but only two of us are dedicated/lucky/dumb enough to still be teaching. Other than that, I'm too boring my real self to be found online.

  • Jerce

    Of course I've Googled myself. If anyone who's ever had access to the Internet tells you they haven't they are a pathetic lying loserfail.

    Google returns two links that are actually references to me: One is on a "Find Anybody" site which requires a subscription to see the information. The other is a directory that states I am living at an address I moved away from about eight years and two cities ago. The rest of the hits are of people whose names are only vaguely like mine, and they are mostly obituaries.

    There are no image hits. None of you will ever know what I look like. I could be sitting in the next cubicle right now.

    All this pleases me immensely.

  • Natallica

    I am a paraguayan bikini model, with questionable taste in tattoos. Another version is that I'm actually dead and I was a colombian stock broker murdered by hitmen. Awful and slutty tattos included, I prefer the first incarnation.

  • annie

    When I googled myself, I found something that mentioned an award I won in high school, an article my cousin was interviewed for, and my name on a Filipino bride site. I may have to change my name.

  • I'm many research scientists with bad hair and lower non-tenured tracks at colleges. Takes a long time to find the sarcastic little writer/music director from Jersey.

  • I see that Firefox is not calling Pajiba an attack site today, so, good on you guys for fixing that.

  • hippyherb

    It's still an attack site for me. Every single day.

  • BierceAmbrose


    Clear your cache / history, and / or on, off, change your attack site setting in "Tools", "Options" & see if that does it.(*)


    Santa-fox checks sites vs. "naughty site" lists maintained by Google & others. "Naughty" but not in a good way. So inside the insurrectionist browser largely funded by Google to prevent Micro$oft from achieving a platform encirclement of the entire public interweb - er I mean "inside firefox", there's some configuration to tell it who to get lists from, how often, and so on.

    Default, Google's not a bad source for blacklists by table-thumping, Montessori-schooled committees, announcing "I have in my hand a list of umpety-zillion attack sites in the Snarkosphere."

    Thing is, you want your browser to check with them from time to time, not get stuck with Sally Wallenfrakker's assessment in the 10th grade, that that there Paji-site is evil and "icky." If you are always jacked in hard and fast, let it check often. (They already know everydamnthing you do anyway, so you're not giving anything away.)

    How, exactly to kick FF in the head to get what you want is often a deep mystery. Because "We're a platform not just a browser." it does a kajillion things as it runs, is deeply configurable, and the nerds who build it forgot about casual users not invested in the tech-hegemony knife-fight 12 parsecs ago.(**)

    Net, you now know enough to chase this down if you want. Google is your friend.

    (*) Conventionally, you tell people how to get through menus with a "dash", "right arrow" between the selections. I am terrified that will make Disqus explode like every scene in a ... oh, you know the rest.

    (**) Yes, I know "parsecs" measure distance. It's among the most abused science-y sounding words in movies and TV, all the way back to BSG(Original). I'm astonished they didn't cal them "parescons."

  • hippyherb

    Thank you.

  • "Tools", "Options", "Exceptions", added to "Allowed Sites".

  • hippyherb

    It worked. Thanks.

  • BierceAmbrose

    Will that redetect if they get hacked again, or are you trusting that they'll stay clean.

    I trust our overlords intentions skill intelligence discretion execution self discipline um, appetites and loose morals.

    On second thought, maybe you want to just flag "" as permanently having the e-herp. I know I don't come here expecting to maintain the purity of my precious bodily fluids.

  • jcoa2

    Hush, they're having a circle jerk. Keep it down.

  • Maguita NYC

    The first time I googled my real name, I found out that I am a Catholic nun, living in the Middle East, strongly against abortion and Israel, but very-much in love with Jesus Christ. All posted oh-so politely on facebook (!!) with picture in habit and all.

    Yeaaaahh, I still prefer being called lovingly by one Mrs. Julien no less, "Slutty Intern of our hearts".

  • Mrs. Julien

    Of all the interns, you're the sluttiest!

  • Maguita NYC

    Don't forget to add the sluttiest "of our hearts" Mrs. Julien. No one really wants to be just the common slut. Not even the sluttiest of interns.

  • Mrs. Julien

    Slut shamer!

  • Kris

    Wow, I'm apparently an extremely ripped male model and pole dancer. My husband's going to be upset.

  • e jerry powell

    You don't know that for sure. Maybe he's secretly wanted to put a pole up in the living room all this time.

  • Mrs. Julien

    ...and who doesn't like ripped male models, am I right?

  • e jerry powell

    I don't (I lean more towards bears), but that's just me...

  • Mrs. Julien

    To be honest, I do too.

  • e jerry powell

    Bears are yum! Ripped male models are good for decorating and holding up large objects.

  • Mitchell Hundred

    Nice to look at, but not to touch?

  • e jerry powell

    More about retouching, really.

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