Do You Ever Google Stalk Yourself?

the word Google under a magnifying glass

Image by Simon Steinberger from Pixabay

Google stalking others is a bad habit that I need to really make an effort to put the kibosh on every so often.  And just a side note, using the term “stalking” lightly in this way is not in any way intended to diminish the harm of actual stalking.  I’m not actually talking about real stalking in this post.

I never used to Google stalk myself, because frankly there was nothing to be found as I had very little online presence.

That started to change when I began blogging.  I was suddenly much more present in many more places online,.  Although at the time my blog was mostly anonymous(ish), I had used my full name on some sites I’d done guest posts on that linked back to my blog. I hadn’t really thought about this at the time I’d submitted the posts, but when later I Google searched myself I discovered that sites like Stigma Fighters do very well in search rankings.  It would be pretty easy for someone from my past to find me on Stigma Fighters and jump from there to my blog.  I had mixed feelings about no longer being anonymous in any meaningful sense.

When I published my first book earlier this year, I decided to go ahead and embrace using my full name.  I no longer cared all that much if people I’ve known in real life came across me online.  Instead of hiding, I decided to go in the opposite direction and get my “personal brand” as out there as I could online.

Now, when I Google stalk myself, I hope to find as many hits as I can.  I’ve managed to build up a pretty broad online footprint; I have a presence on a lot of websites that do well in search engine rankings.  I actually have to dig a bit deeper to find my blog; I think part of the issue is that the words in my blog name are very generic.   But my own name, which I much preferred to keep hidden until earlier this year, is now all over the place.

As an author it’s great that I’m easy to find, I do sometimes wonder if former friends or coworkers ever Google stalk me the way I occasionally do to them.  Perhaps they’ve got better things to do with their time.

If someone did come across me, I don’t know that I care enough about what anyone thinks to be all that bothered by it, but I suspect it would feel like a bit of invasion of privacy.  I have no problem with any of you reading what I write, but if it came to an ex-friend or coworker I don’t feel like they deserve to know what’s going on in my life.

It is a bit weird, though, to think about being so accessible.  There’s definitely something to be said for being un-Google-stalkable.  I know people who have zero online presence.  However, in a way being so present online is consistent with the anti-stigma message that I want to send.  Not that being open about one’s identity is necessary to be a mental health advocate and stigma fighter, but for those people who are in a position where it’s psychologically safe and feasible for them to be open, I think doing so is a step in a positive direction.

Do you ever Google stalk yourself?  If so, what do you find?

 

My new book Making Sense of Psychiatric Diagnosis, with contributions from members of the mental health blogging community, will be released on September 9.  My first book, Psych Meds Made Simple, is available on Amazon and other ebook retailers.

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28 thoughts on “Do You Ever Google Stalk Yourself?

  1. BeckiesMentalMess.wordpress.com says:

    After reading this, I now feel the need to Google Stalk myself. I never have before… I’m almost scared to look me up now. LOL!
    Actually, I’m not all that worried about outside sources reading whatever I write. I’m an open book, and I don’t fear family members judging me, because… Well, most of hem don’t exist in my life anymore.
    But, I am curious though. LOL!

  2. Luftmentsch says:

    Nowadays I have little web presence and pretty much none of it under my real name. When I was blogging under my own name, I used to google myself and generally got disappointed at how little I showed up. My name is, apparently, quite common, as a lot of other people with the same name generally showed up before anything I had written.

    I used to hope people I was at school or university with would see my blog and realise how depressed I was. I’m not sure if I wanted them to feel guilty for mistreating me, or to have some kind of “That’s why he was so weird” a-ha moment.

  3. Paula Light says:

    I do stalk myself and others. I like to see if there’s anything new or weird out there about me. Also, I was trying to keep track of some things my ex husband was doing, but that’s become too difficult. And it just doesn’t matter.

    There’s a man I stalk. A lawyer in Los Angeles. I wish I knew more about him, but it’s hard not being on Facebook and having access to his kids’ profiles which have less security. When you stalk people and aren’t having any luck, go after their family ~ it’s what reporters do. Anyway, I don’t mean any harm by it… just a fantasy. We probably wouldn’t even get along.

  4. Nyxinked says:

    I used to do it all the time but haven’t since around 2016 when my social media presence began to disappear. Now it’s back and bigger than ever with my blog, so maybe in a few months i might take to having a wee browse about myself.

  5. eirlysgwenllian says:

    I Google stalk myself once in a while just out of curiosity, though not much has ever shown up for a few reasons. I think I’m present on quite a handful of websites around the Internet and in a couple languages, and sometimes I write about such apparently niche things that I’ve come across my own writing – blog posts, posts on some message boards or such – just searching for something on Google casually. But then I don’t use the same name or even username everywhere and while most of the usernames I go by are pretty distinctive and I’m fairly open online about my life, and stuff like my mental illness, disability and such, I hardly anywhere use my full real name, so I’d have to do a few separate searches to sum up all the results in Google that have to do with me.
    Also, I’ve changed my name legally some 4 years ago, so that makes things complex too. From all the social media, I’m only on Twitter, and not under my real name, also I’ve decided a few years ago to be more private in some ways and in some places online, so my Twitter account is protected.
    When I do some more serious writing, I use a pen name, that is I don’t use my real surname, but it seems like this combination is pretty common (interestingly, especially among Swedes, which is slightly weird because Emilia isn’t that very popular there and my creative surname sounds pretty international, even though it does have Germanic roots 😀 ). I guess it’s easiest to find me on Google by my pen name, where I’m not visible straight away but my article on Nameberry.com was ranking quite high for a good while, and still is doing pretty well and people can get to my blog from there.
    My blog is not doing super well on Google, which at least for now I’m happy to keep this way and don’t stress much about, but when I recently searched for “My Inner Mishmash” specifically my blog was the first thing that came up, I suppose again because the name is rather distinctive.
    Right now I’m happy with the level of online presence I have, and as I said due to some circumstances my need for privacy has increased in recent years, but I think it’s definitely very likely I’ll be getting out there more, though I probably will stick to my pen name rather than using my real surname, even just because it’s slightly easier to pronounce for non Polish speakers. Funnily, I once googled my birth name and found out that there is a lady called exactly the same, living in the very same town as I do, who owns a clothing shop nearby. That was very surprising and it’s strange that we’ve never met!

  6. Meg says:

    Fun post!! Interesting topic. Get down with your self-stalking self, I say!

    Yeah, I’ve looked myself up, and every time I do, a lot of images come up of either my book covers or my author photo (I think the one I use on GR). I don’t think I’ve ever found anything upsetting, beyond those scammer sites claiming to have my book. I joined one once–not to get bootleg books, but to see if they really had mine. They didn’t. But the funny thing is I joined with a free trial through PayPal. I canceled the trial a day later after exploring and looking for my book. (The free trial was good for seven days.) PayPal freakin’ gave my snail mail address to these scammers, and they sent me bills and legal notices from some European country claiming I owed them money for having used their services. They threatened to sue me, and they tried to extort money from me, and everything. So I just had some fun with them and sent them so many mean, nasty emails (as well as a few PayPal payments of $0.02, just to really shove it to them) that they finally left me alone. I was peeved, though, so I wound up giving PayPal a 1-star review on sitejabber.

    But anyway, I never find anything about myself that isn’t related to my books, and I’ve never found my advice web site that way either!

  7. lavenderandlevity says:

    My real name and everyone’s I care about I have Google alerts and everything set up, to make sure no abusive arsehole from the 9th Circle of Hell can ever attempt to do something that affects my employability or compromises my family’s safety, etc., without my getting notified immediately. With that place, I don’t put it past the types I’ve tangled with to do just about anything to – what’s that acronym you posted about once that abusers use to discredit those who confront them? Deny, Intimidate, Something Something? DIRPA? (I should have bookmarked that post. It was very revealing to learn that retaliatory behaviors by abusers is well-documented enough to warrant a jargony academic acronym.) So, as a result, I know what just about every person in the world with my name is up to! And my name isn’t super unusual, so that’s a decent number of people! I don’t Google anything with my blog, though, as I explicitly don’t want my blog to become a thing I can start to judge myself over whether I’m doing “right.”

  8. Only Michy says:

    Yes, I have! For many reasons… to make sure I have a clean internet record when I apply to other companies for jobs, to make sure personal information is not on there, AND for my blog. But I have to be like you and make sure I leave enough footprint on Google.

  9. sophienaylor1 says:

    I’ve done it a few times because of how open I’ve been about mental health since I was about 14 years old online, when I didn’t understand the consequences. I always want to make sure nothing too bad is online that future job companies can see.

  10. atwistonlife says:

    Yes, I definitely do this, in several ways! I check on my real name frequently and have a Google alert set up so I’ll know if anything new gets posted so I can take steps to get it taken down. WHY is it so damn difficult to make one’s phone number and address private? It feels so gross and unsafe and it disgusts me.

    My blogging name is a false identity, though, and it has never occurred to me to search for myself under this name. I want my real name online as little as possible, but seeing my pseudonym mentioned more would be pretty sweet!

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