Friday, August 26, 2011

Big W the fourth - "Googling someone.. Curiosity or Crossing the line?"

Okay…. disclaimer first.   I consider myself to be a proper person.  At times I am a little too polite, professional, and reserved.   I manage a variety of companies, doing the finance and HR duties at them.  I was once told by an employee that I was “the oldest young person that they knew.”   Not sure, but I took it as a compliment.    One reason that I think that I enjoy Bermuda so much is the British influence.  The people are always engaging, polite and professional.  Always with a smile on their face, whether it is a hotel worker, or just someone passing you on the street.
That being said.   (Yes, I added the above so that I can assert that I am in the ‘curiosity’ category, not the ‘crossing the line’ category.   I don't play games.  I'm straight-forward.  Simple even.
So… Google.   How many of you meet someone online at Facebook or on Twitter and then go and google their name?   Yes, be honest… most of you do it.    At least most of the people that I know.  
Is it curiosity plain and simple?  Or a thirst to find out more about the person that you have just connected with?    I view it as a curiosity.   Call it a search for additional knowledge.   But, when you find something online about that person….do you, should you share it with them or ask them about it?   I find that is a very difficult conversation to have.  It looks bad.
What if you googled someone and found a police report?   I have found them.   One person was arrested years earlier.   They actually ended up offering up the information to me at a later time.  They were arrested while trying to cover up something that their spouse had done.   Nice intentions, but a black mark on your ‘google’ search record for everyone else out there.   Information age indeed.  Not fair to the person who was just trying to be supportive.
What if you googled someone and found pictures of their wedding?   This might be prying a bit.  But they might enjoy it if you commented on their special day.  The castle in the background, a gorgeous dress.  And lots of smiling pictures.  Still not really proper in my eyes. 
However…if the information is out there on the website, then I suppose it’s free game.   Yes?  Or no?  I’m curious…..  and like I said in the disclaimer above….I err on the side of keeping one’s mouth shut about it.   It is all well and good to be curious, but keep it to yourself.
If people google me… oh my.  Please don’t.    They will find all sorts of articles that I wrote back years ago when I was at a very boring job and had WAY too much time on my hands during the day.   I wrote for an ezine called “write for cash” and put out two or three articles a day…. Often making like $60 a day.    It passed the time.  The articles weren’t literary masterpieces…. Although I am supremely proud of my one titled, “How to pick the right carpet pad.”   Ugh…    I do have more involved things out there… (I am telling you all so you DON’T have to google me)…   I once wrote a self-help how to book on dividend reinvestment plans.   It had a neat format that I had to adhere to…  Information on the left side and questions and quizzes on what you just read about on the right.   I think I sold like 5 copies.  And made about $5.55.    But it was glorious fun to write.   I also once wrote a very sweet piece for Just Labs magazine.   It was about my war with my dog, who was a digger.  And how I had to battle her in putting down chicken fencing on the ground so she couldn’t dig to China. 
I have no desire to rot my brain in front of the tv every night.   Writing is cathartic and gets your thoughts organized and out onto the paper.   Freeing one up for more new, engaging thoughts.    Healing and enjoyable.
Meeting new people on any of the social media platforms these days is fun and exciting.   There are many engaging people out there in the world who have a lot of thoughts, books, and opinions to share.   Who wouldn’t want to know more about these people?   What about the rest of their life?   Just curious to see what other things they have written, or what websites and blogs they have created.   Coming across a picture perfect castle backdrop of wedding pictures is a rare occurrence, but is entertaining and more enjoyable to pass the time instead of playing games on one’s blackberry on a slow Friday afternoon at work.
So…   please weigh in…  Is Googling someone just curiosity?  Or is it crossing some kind of line?


  1. I google ppl all the time, but I mostly google myself to see what's out there. Haha wedding pics. Yep. They're out there. And I cannot take them back. They will prob be out there until the day the photographer realizes we're no longer together, my hubby and I.

    What's very touching about it, is that a part of everybody's history is forever stuck somewhere on the web. In many years from now, I'm sure I'll still find old posts or old pics of me that just erred there because of the magical and also horrific nature of the web itself. It spreads to uncharted territories....

    It was once again a great post. I enjoyed it a lot.

    Keep writing.

  2. Oh JKP, why am I not surprised? :-) I google people every now and then, but I mostly google myself as well. I want to know what's out there and if I need to "correct" something.

    If I google someone, I usually do it with their knowledge. So, it's not a person I JUST met through social media and decided for the fun of it I'd check them out. No, I google people who've become my friends and we make a game out of it. See who can find the most dirt.

    This is where it helps to have a pen name, I guess. :-P

    And I'll end with this...I don't care enough about strangers to google them.

  3. Pen name. Good point. Many authors use them. Including myself. I simply liked the one I chose better than the one I was given. It does also allow a measure of privacy. I do believe anything 1can google is public domain. Totally fair. Which, as an extremely private person, I have always guarded my privacy fiercly. Luckily for me though, I have also lead such a squeaky clean life there is nothing really to be found under either name. All I could find on myself even was 1 public record of a home purchase. Which u cant find without an address. I wonder who was so special you googled as to bring about this sudden seeming guilt? Interesting topic. Hmm.....? Please tell your Mom just the fact you would take the time to even consider whether its wrong, means she raised you right. You make an excellent gentleman. Perhaps you should consider asking the person you are so curious about if they would be willing to share more personal information with you, instead? Zero guilt. Lol. : )