Thursday, April 16, 2009

You've Been Googled

So my daughter IM'd me this evening. Here's a bit of our conversation:

Daughter: I have a new man!
Me: Nice. Send a pic.
Daughter: (sends a picture)
Me: Cute. What's his name? Where does he work? How long have you known him? How old is he? Why does he look like he's smiling too hard?
Daughter: Mom!
Me: Ok, just give me a name.
Daughter: (sends name)
Me: Are you sure that's the correct spelling?
Daughter: Mom, you are so not doing what I think you're doing.
Me: Erm...
Daughter: Are you Googling him?
Me: You know it.

Technology rocks, doesn't it? I mean, ten years ago, heck, even five years ago we couldn't have a conversation over the computer with a loved one and at the same time get pictures to go along with the chat. And we wouldn't have been able to go online and do a background check on the new beau either. My daughter expects it now. I Google all her boyfriends. She even spells out the last name the first time she gives it to me, just to be helpful. What disturbed me though, is that there was no trace of her new guy online anywhere. No history. No presence. Not even on Facebook. So I'm like 'he so erased his serial killer past'.

Daughter: Mom!
Me: Hey, you never know.
Daughter: He's nice.

Me? I'm just happy she also told me where he works, because technology aside, if all else fails, the hubby and I plan a search and snoop mission to that store. Hee.

But this phenomenon is not limited to the daughter's guys. I Google everyone. Seriously. If I get an email from a reader or author I've never heard of—I'm off to Google. If I've been introduced to someone over lunch or at a meeting, I remember the name, then Google them.

Does that make me as creepy as the guy with no online history? Or just curious and a careful parent?

So what about you? Do you Google people? Do you think it's fair to enhance your judgment of a person by what you find about them online? (Notice I said enhance your judgment. Any info online must be taken with grains of salt and added to what you learn upon meeting the actual person and talking to them.) Does absence of an online presence concern you? (It could go either way; not much interest in online networking or like I said, a reason not to be found.) Have you ever been Googled? Is it a norm nowadays to be Googled as part of the job interview?

And when did Googled become a verb? I like it. I use it that way. Had an editor rewrite a sentence recently so I did not use it as a verb. Fooey. I changed it back. ;-)



Betina Krahn said...

I "google" people occasionally. Usually to locate web resources. But lack of a presence on the web doesn't necessarily indicate a serial killer past, honest. Some people are just too busy to "facebook" or never got into the social networking thing.

Some people just have to be dragged kicking and screaming into the techno-revolution. Or is that techno-evolution? sigh. I think I may be one of those. I get comfy with my technology and don't want to be disturbed.

But I do enjoy a unique and interesting web site. hint, hint.

I'm off to google my kids.

GunDiva said...

Michele, it's a tad creepy. I've googled a few people, but mostly the ones my daughter would call "creepers". Otherwise, I don't really trust what I find on-line about anyone. That said, there's been a lot of talk recently from our Placement Directors at the college about potential employers Googling applicants and looking for them on Facebook - which I find extra creepy. However, I can see why an employer would want to see "the real" person; but what if the profile on Facebook isn't an idicator of what a hard-worker the applicant is? So what if they got a little drunk at a bachelorette party? What does that have to do with their job performance?

I think I'll just stick with the old fashioned gut feeling about people; either I like 'em or I hate 'em. Has worked (mostly) for years.

Oh, and if you want to Google me, my name is spelled S-H-A-W-N-T-E-L *grin* and, no, I'm not the Shawntel who was Miss America in the '80s.

Kathleen said...

I have googled a few people, but I am a great beliver in the "eyes are the window of the soul". I want to look into a person eyes to really know what they are all about. When I meet people for the first time and especially those involved with my family, I can tell right off if this person is going to be a good fit. I like the little tells about a person. Googling is fine, but the real way to know a person is too look into their eyes.
If you have seen "Steel Magnolias", Clairee looks at somone and says "You have the eyes of a seriel killer". The eyes tell it everytime.

Keri Ford said...

I don't. Mostly because I don't think of it! My googling for people info is pretty much tapped out for editor/agent searching. That can be a full time job on it own when you're preparing for submission.

Other than that, if I'm trying to look for someone (like I have a name, but no email), google, here I come!

And no, I don't find it creepy.
*Says the girl who has an aunt known to run police background checks on possible dates!

Debra Dixon said...

I google everything. (pssst...used as a colloqial verb I don't think we have to capitlize it anymore what do you think? Language lives and breathes right?)

Seriously, I google constantly. i was working on a friend's resume and she couldn't give me her job objective other than to say, "I need to work so my dogs don't go hungry."

Off to Google.

Want to find an author?
Off to Google.

Want to research a cancer drug?
Off to Google.

What to know the right length shifter cable for a 35 year old international Scout? Off to Google.

GunDiva said...

Just out of curiousity, I did Google my name and what I found was a definition from the Urban Dictionary "1)a girl that makes you crazy in love for no apparent reason; 2)a classic example of a black girl name given to a white girl". Hmmm...
And I found out that the Shawntel who was Miss America was in 1996, not the '80s. Wonder how many pages I have to did to find me?

Kathleen Eagle said...

Ah, Michele, you've hit on a topic that really needs scanning in the Shakespearean sense. (Notice how the meaning of that word has changed since the Bard used it.)

I google (yep, I've used it in books with no objection) a lot, but I don't think I've done it on a personal level. (It really surprised me when my son told me I'm in Wikipedia.)

I just don't know. Kinda like going straight to the courthouse and looking up the public records on the new guy, isn't it? I think I'm with the people who like the gut-check method. We want our kids to master that skill. Sure, use all available sources when the gut waves a flag, but basically I'm against search the drawers and closets unless there's cause for alarm.

But you and your daughter have a great relationship, and she's spelling out the name, so it sounds like it's all good in the Hauf house. And, really, I have no answers. The Information Age has a flip side--the Misinformation Age--and I'm "conflicted." Still scanning.

Michele Hauf said...

This is interesting! I wasn't sure what people would think about this, and I admit, I'm a little surprised that more people don't google.

Keri's mention of an aunt doing a police background check reminded me that when I was a teen, and dating, my mom had her own sort of Google. My uncle was police chief in our small town. So every guy I dated, she call and check with him.

Heh. Let me just say, I dated some doozies. I went for the bad boys. So my mother got an earful.

So maybe that's where I got my 'need to know' gene.

Kathleen Eagle said...

I can't wait 'til Elizabeth becomes a police officer. She already has a "presence." When she was in high school one of her friends had an abusive boyfriend. He was afraid of Elizabeth. The thing is, she's never gotten into a fight. But don't tell anybody.

I guess ideally your daughter should be the one doing the google. Men oogle, we google. Now that's progress!

Helen Brenna said...

I google everything too, except I hadn't thought to use it to check into boyfriends. Thanks, Michele! lol

flip said...

I google everything, including people. Actually, it can be a smart move. There is so much information on the internet. Before you enter into a contract, it might be useful to know that the other person had been fined for fraudulent actions by the SEC. (true case)

catslady said...

It's not something that I ever thought of doing lol. On the other hand, I've been known to be too trusting!

Cindy Gerard said...

Interesting 'daughter date' screener :o) i can see the value.
I google often but generally for research. Like Keri, though, I just don't think about it for people. Maybe I will now, too :o0

Tori Lennox said...

I'm constantly googling people, places and things. I think Google is one of the best inventions in the modern age.

Kylie said...

Googled is *so* a word, LOL! Popular vernacular. I'm sure it'll make it into the dictionary soon. And yes I IM, text, facebook and google. Drives my husband nuts. He says, "Why don't you just *call* them?" Oh and also mass email to the kids so we get long chain hilarious replies regarding the dog's Easter candy eating episode or their dad's pic wearing TV headphones. It's fast, easy, a way to include everyone. I love the technology!

lunaticcafe said...

I just read an article in some magazine that said "google it" has become the new phrase for telling the truth. Example- A person might say "I read that Brad Pitt wants to build a house on Mars, Google it!" I thought it was funny and I can totally relate to the phenomena because anytime that I don't know an answer I hop on the computer to google.

I also saw on the Today show, just this morning, that parents should use Google to keep track of their children and all the sexting that is going on. Sexting? I'm old and had to think a sec about that. Anyways, a parent should use Google to look up names and phone numbers. Who knew?

Estella said...

I google a lot and I have been googled.

Venus Vaughn said...

Way back in the dawn of time (1993) I was on the Internet. And I liked it. And I knew where it was going.

So, my 1993 self said, "Let's enjoy this, while keeping ourself off of it." "OKAY!" was my perky answer, and thus is has remained ever since.

This is my pen name. I use it because I like my privacy. And when I get published, I don't want it to be easy for people to find the real me. I'm happy to spread my pen name all up and down the Interwebz, and I kind of feel sorry for the one or three people in the US who actually do have this name. But that's not my problem.

My real name - you'll find maybe 4 or 5 instances of it on the web. No, really. In 16 years, I kept that contract with my 1993 self and continue to keep my private life private.

All of this to tell you, I'm not a felon, don't do drugs, and a fairly nice person and you ain't gonna find a hint of me on the google. So don't despair if the boyfriend seems to have popped into your daughter's life as a fully formed humanoid with no history. He could simply be private, just like me.