Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Google Google

I Googled myself today. No good reason, just did it. I imagine most people have, but it doesn't really seem to occur to me to do it very often. Once every couple of years?

I don't like social media. I don't like my internet activities tracked by dozens of companies to sell what I do to marketing companies. I use Firefox so I can install add-ins that not only block ads but block the ability of companies to track my web activities. I have a possibly vain belief that most people wouldn't join Facebook, etc. if they were fully aware of their behind-the-scenes pervasiveness. I'm not fully aware, either, but enough so that it troubles me significantly. I'd much rather pay twenty bucks a year for a membership but if that were Facebook's model they'd probably have never become Facebook. (And I hate that name.)

So the first entry that comes up in my Google results is for LinkedIn, another social media site. I may have signed up when they first came into existence many years ago, but I don't recall: at that point, there didn't seem to be much value. So why is it the first entry in my results page? My first guess is that LinkedIn pays Google. My second guess is that it isn't me.

When I lived in Florida and worked in IT, someone showed up in Clearwater with a suspiciously similar name, another "Richard Ollerman." At first I suspected identity theft or some such, but it appears that there is actually another person with my name. As time went on, he appeared to move to Tampa, and later possibly even to St. Petersburg. I had lived in Tampa and then in St. Pete. Somewhere along the line he seemed to start going by the name of Rick Ollerman, too.

The rest of the entries on Google return page all pertain to me. At least ten pages came back and I only looked at the first two. Some references I didn't recognize but when I opened them they too were about me. But there were still a few for the other Rick Ollerman, who now lives in the same area I used to and works in the same field I used to.

I know what you're thinking: I got drunk somewhere and embarrassing pictures were taken and now I'm trying to blame the other guy. No. But I do wonder: who gets the worst end of this deal? The other guy doesn't have any Amazon listings in his favor, but I do. That may be his LinkedIn entry and not mine. A few weeks ago an author I haven't personally met was inviting me to his LinkedIn circle but I couldn't even decline the invitation. What did the other me do? I have no idea.

Maybe he'll get drunk and have embarrassing pictures taken; then he can blame me. This is a strange situation. I thought it a bit odd when Harlan Ellison trademarked his own name and it now appears on his books with the circle-r trademark symbol after his name.

Sadly, it's probably too late for me to take over all possible usage of my name, er, our name. I know there are Ollermans in South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, one in Arizona, my parents in Florida, and another guy, with my name, in my old profession, in my old town.

I find this a strange situation and have no idea what, if anything, I should do. I could travel back to St. Pete, rob a bank, and drop my name, but somehow that doesn't seem to be a permanent solution.

I probably don't want to push anything. It may turn out he's better looking than me, and a better writer, and more appealing to my Golden Retrievers.

I don't think I'll be Googling myself again for a while.


Blogger whitney said...

Great article, Rick!
-your cousin, Whitney

10:55 PM  
Blogger Rick Ollerman said...

Whitney! It's been, um, decades! I still look exactly the same, by the way. Send an e-mail some time if you'd like and we can catch up. And next time you're in northern New Hampshire-- Hey, it happens....

10:16 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home