Friday, October 06, 2006

UpFront and Googlable

It's frighteningly remarkably easy to find people with the aid of t'interweb. I'm not talking about internet dating, well not directly.

All you need are a couple of facts, name, location perhaps, or occupation and you can soon source photographs, telephone numbers, educational background all with a couple of well-placed clicks.

I often 'google' guys I've chatted to on msn to ensure their stories are backed up by their profiles. Friendsreunited is a good source and helps check whether they are lying about their age for a start ( I know of at least 1 Methodist Minister who won't be found in any Class of 1986 list, he knows who he is).

Last summer I enjoyed a lovely home-cooked dinner with a chap in Holmfirth without ever having been given his address ( He HAD invited me. I'm a snooper not a stalker). In fact, as well as finding his house, I'd also clocked his registered office ( his mother's), his VAT registration number and his film production credits. It never once dawned on him to question how I'd got there. He'd already failed on the blond streaks, not acceptable on men over 40, so observational skills were not going to earn him any extra points by that stage.

I don't think there's any harm in doing a bit of background research. Anyone using t'web knows that most of what is posted will fall into the public domain. I don't see it as a violation of privacy, more of a trust tool and if a date is in the offing, it's at best a safety precaution if not Exhibit A in the resulting Crimewatch reconstruction.

I generally wouldn't want them to know that I'd checked them out, not initially, if nothing else out of a fear that they might decide to do the same thing to me. I most certainly wouldn't want to inadvertently click on 'Send' instead of 'X' when exploration of their work website had opened an Outlook Express Compose Message page, thus providing them with proof positive of my clandestine habits, full work contact details and a nagging suspicion that I collect rabbit recipes.
In fact, I'm just downright inquisitive and it should be seen as a form of flattery ;)


Anonymous Marjory said...

Oh heavens... I thought that was just me...

I looked up a guy who I had never really liked and who I (obviously) hadn't seen in about 10 years one day when I was bored & sat in front of Google & his name flashed into my brain and... 5 minutes later I had his current home address and telephone number.

Tempting, so tempting, until I remembered that I wasn't a psychopath!

(I surf, so I hope you don't mind that I checked out your blog from Stegbeetle's page! [and I found his from Beki's!])

2:00 am  
Blogger Frontier Editor said...

So I guess you won't believe I'm a Unitarian either? >B^D>

3:31 am  
Blogger Ces said...

Hi Cherry Pie. I thought I'd visit you. I always read about you on kj's blog. This is a very interesting post and my caustious side would not only google someone especially a man but perhaps request a criminal background check and a credit rating!

4:04 am  
Blogger Dave said...

Of course, some people use the internet (particularly blogs) to be the sort of people they really want to be - or imagine they still are, in their heads - despite the evidence of real life.

Age, to take just one example, is very much a state of mind. One can act with life and joie de vivre, and enjoy being with younger people, despite the fact that the calendar has moved inexorably on.

In my case, I've found that many people whose blogs I have enjoyed, and whose company I find stimulating have, when I've bothered to investigate, turned out to be in their mid-thirties, which (spookily) is how old I believe I am.

Some of us, worried about the prospect of doocing, never mention our specific employer on our blogs - this 'Methodist minister' of whom you speak may, for instance, have never mentioned his denomination (or indeed his specific occupation) there.

I'll consider myself flattered, shall I?

8:11 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sharon, the reason it is called the internet is nothing to do with "network" it is to do with "net curtains", where nosey bored housewives can spy on the rest of us. The "inter" bit of "internet" is nothing to do with "interesting" either. Do you know what her at number 374.157.632.457 was doing last week?

8:22 am  
Blogger delcatto said...

Oh secret's found out.
I'm a 57 year old woman called Muriel who collects string, wears comfortable brogues and hunts squirrels with trained Persian cats. I work in law enforcement (collecting unpaid library fines), smoke a pipe and I emphatically deny any relationship with the Prince of Wales....or his butler.
All that from perusing the internet.

9:11 am  
Blogger Cherrypie said...

Marjory - pull up a chair. It sounds like we'll get on fine.

FE - that didn't surprise me. It was the horsebreeding that came as a shock

Ces - Ideally I would also require psychometric testing and intimate swab analysis but sometimes you just have to go on instinct. Pleased to meet you. x

Dave - if you're not cross, considered yourself honoured. If you are, I was referring to Rev Leah, a bearded Senior Minister who ran our circuit when I was young and always scared me a bit but who has a 36-yr old pole-dancing alter-ego.

Vicus - if you had spied properly you would have seen that I don't have net curtains. My windows just happen to be symetrically dirty

Del - I thought that was Seany. If that's you, then who is he really?

10:13 am  
Blogger ziggi said...

hmmmmm as I thought I can't even find myself let alone anyone else - I am just a figment of my own imagination . . .

11:01 am  
Blogger Frontier Editor said...

Ah, yes. I used to major in animal husbandry in college until one night I was caught at it . . . . badadaDUM!

Seriously though, because my surname is also a part of speech, I've found that it's damn near impossible to Google me. This came in handy a few weeks ago when we did a Freedom of Information test of local government agencies and had to go to various offices, request information available under the state FOI Act, and found that some officials were surreptitiously Googling our names to see if we worked for the press.

Try it Cherry. Only you know my secret identity, and you can confirm it for all dese mugs. >B^D>

12:53 pm  
Blogger Cherrypie said...

Ziggi - it's a wicked imagination you've got there

Fronty - you're right - I got 99,300 when I put in your shortened first name and 168,000 when I used it in full. My surname has a similar, if less marked effect, although it does tend to lead to soft porn with women lounging seductively over furniture.

1:42 pm  
Blogger Ces said...

I gogooled myself after reading your piece last night and found out that I am a street name, a castle and damn - they published our professional message board so I read entries about medication drips, obnoxious bedside manners, etc. etc that made me wonder, if I was so damn busy and physically stressed out how did I manage to write a dissertation on language barriers? Many boring entries...but there they were in broad daylight my full name, professional titles and degrees, my office number, work street address, etc. Good thing I am an ordinary person, still I think of having restraining orders issued on anyone who looks at me more than 2 seconds more than 2 times and any man standing in my personal space or my smelling circumference...

2:27 pm  
Blogger andrea said...

The comments here are as good as your post! :) Googling is a wonderful/terrible thing. I was able to track down ex-boyfriends on various continents with varying results, which reminds me. When you have a free weekend can you pop down to West Sussex and tell me if a certain 45ish English teacher's wife has aged dramatically and horifically? It could make my year. :)

3:07 pm  
Blogger Melora said...

I agree about not mentioning to your dates that you've Googled them, at least not until an anniversary or two has passed and you are reminiscing, but also that it is a sensible precaution.
Googling myself was a bit unnerving. My alter egos, when I use first and last name, seem fairly respectable, but by first name alone, I find a host of sleazy film stars and a dominatrix. Yikes! The real me only shows up in the listing for the house we just sold (guess I should cancel that ad, eh?).

3:40 pm  
Blogger Cherrypie said...

Ces - you're safe over here. Men don't come within 50 yards of me in real life.

Andrea - invariably the comments are better than the preceding post. I'd be delighted to pop down to Rye. I've heard Paul MacCartney's single again. I might pop in and cheer him up while I'm down there.

Melora - I'm so relieved to hear from you. I read the report about a chemical fire in North Carolina with hundreds of residents evacuated and I thought of you.

5:34 pm  
Blogger kj said...

very interesting (i say this with a thick accent...). my blog police daughter is always telling me to refrain on my blog, but since just about everything is public knowledge, so what if i spill my heart and head here and there.

as for google, i object that there is not enough interesting information about me. i think i'm more famous and accomplished than google knows....


5:35 pm  
Blogger Cherrypie said...

KJ - I agree that you should be lauded by Google far more than you are - but it appears they think you are dead. I do hope they are wrong.

5:46 pm  
Blogger Carlz said...

the internet was invented to aid snooping ! I agree with doing a background check!

5:52 pm  
Blogger kj said...

cherrypie: dead? that is the ultimate indignity. it's enough to push me to pay to get my google rankings up. afterall,i'm not dead, and i'm also not a hunter, a childrens book writer, or a school administrator.

please confirm that you know i am alive. the reassurance will help me.


5:38 am  
Blogger Dave said...

I must say that, apart from Friends Reunited, I have been unable to find anything about myself on the net - and I know my full name, and other relevant information to put into search engines. I have always consoled myself with the thought that if I can't trace me, no-one else could. Not that I could understand why anyone would want to, anyway.

8:13 am  
Blogger Cherrypie said...

KJ - of course I know that you are very much alive and kicking a$$

Carlz - thank you for the validation

Dave - you were easy or maybe it was just my Weslayan hard-wiring. I don't think you need be paranoid though.

10:52 pm  
Blogger Pamela said...

Fronty, Cherry isn''t the only one that knows your alter ego! (maniacal laughter here)

I've googled myself and found too many pages. I should probably be more cicumspect, but oh well. Can't take it back now.

I just want to stop getting Pamela Anderson's emails.

1:53 am  
Blogger Keshi said...

I cant believe that Im almost googlable now! Anything is.


7:49 am  
Blogger ziggi said...

Fronty I found you through your model making and Dave I see you are the batty minister East of Eden.
Pammy you were easy with all your writing - I'm very impressed. Cherry, who the hell are you? Are you really called Sharon?

9:43 am  
Blogger Cherrypie said...

Keshi - you are almost an institution now.

Pamela - do you have The Hoff's contact details? Not for me,you understand, but my mate, Darbster could learn a thing or two from him

Fronty - I didn't tell them, honest. Mybe you'll be eligible for a witness protection programme.

Ziggi - thank goodness the disguise is working. I'm definitely not a Sharon

2:12 pm  
Blogger Cocaine Jesus said...

ok ok, so you've done a research on cocaine jesus and now you know that he is very much NOT a methodist minister nor indeed a lay preacher but is a man born in the year of our lord 1754 in the region of mittlewick of an irish mother and a father of dubious origins. he isn't really a father of four but in reality a father of seventy five whose ages range from 175 to fourteen and grand children and great great great grand children too numerous to mention. he isn't five foot ten (and a half) but in reality only five foot two and with a serious hump and a limp.

bugger friends united for spoiling a chaps cahnces!!!

2:44 pm  
Blogger Frontier Editor said...

More like I'd be eligible for a witless protection program >B^D> - I forgot I'd told Pam a while back. But Ziggi still wouldn't have had an easily divined clue of my profession . . . buwahahahahaha. Buuuwhahahahahahahah!


2:49 pm  
Blogger Frontier Editor said...

Pam, if you're tired of getting Pamela Anderson's e-mails, I don't suppose you'd be willing to share them with Tom, Dave, Vicus and myself, would you?

2:50 pm  
Blogger Dave said...

Speak for yourself FE. Why would I want her e-mails?

5:39 pm  
Blogger Dave said...

Whoever she is.

5:40 pm  
Anonymous Sharon J said...

I was starting to wonder whether I'd somehow become you for a moment, Cherry. I've heard of stolen identities but I didn't know others could so easily switch us!

6:30 pm  
Anonymous kyknoord said...

It looks like you're about to beat "imitation" into second place. At least you're using your power for evil.

8:52 pm  
Blogger Frontier Editor said...


Between the hepatitis and the videotape and a few seasons of 'Baywatch,' I'm sure they're absolutely entracing literature.

Or else they're pure smut.

11:53 pm  
Blogger Mise said...

I shouldn't have done it ... now I'm depressed ...only 121 hits...mostly sport and mostly about someone else ... even the Revenue Commissioners got 7,000,000 hits :-(

...then again, on the positive side, I'd be hard to track down! :-D

9:55 am  
Blogger Dave said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12:01 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh gawd and this woman has my mobile number....

1:03 pm  
Blogger Cherrypie said...

Sharon - I think Vicus started the confusion

Mise - are you a former athlete as well as a dancer?

Pete - you think it's just your mobile number?

Deleted commentor - I'd be delighted and the pleasure would be all yours x

1:20 pm  
Blogger Mise said...

lol...athlete would be a stretch of the imagination and a touch of poetic licence too far, but I still can't get my head to accept my body's daily torrent of complaints and therefore continue to abuse it to ridiculous excess.

And that's before I go to the pub! :-D

3:31 pm  
Blogger Cherrypie said...

Mise - I too abuse my body. If I didn't, no bugger else would.

5:00 pm  
Blogger The Tart said...

Flattery will get you everywhere!

You go girl ... check those boys out ... now about THAT hair ... were his streaks attractive?

The Tart
; )

7:21 pm  
Blogger homo escapeons said...

Exhibit A on Crimewatch! HA!
Forewarned is forearmed..that sounds 'smashing'...
I think that snooping is fun too..hey if Dubya can do it why can't we?
If I was any good at it I would be in the blackmailing business..
emailing credit card receipts to public officials that reveal brief afternoon visits to hotels and 'modelling agencies'...kewl!
oops there are two very large men at the door gotta gooooooooooo

10:53 pm  
Blogger Cherrypie said...

Tart - I didn't think so at the time but the longer it goes, the more appealing they are becoming.

HE - I knew I could rely on you to pick up on the Crimewatch reference x

3:19 am  

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