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To Google Friends Or Not To Google, That Is the Question 117

Posted by samzenpus
from the how-about-just-asking dept.
Hugh Pickens writes writes "Henry Alford writes that in an ideal world, we would all use Google to be better friends by having better recall and to research our new friends and acquaintances to get to know them better. 'It's perfectly natural and almost always appropriate,' says social anthropologist Kate Fox. 'Obviously, one is always going to have to be discreet when talking about what you've found. But our brains haven't changed since the Stone Age, and humans are designed to live in small groups in which everyone knows one another. Googling is an attempt to recreate a primeval, preindustrial pattern of interaction.' But the devil is in the details. If we tell a new friend that we've read her LinkedIn entry or her wedding announcement, it probably won't be perceived as trespassing, as long we bear no ulterior motives. If we happen to reveal that we've also read her long-ago abandoned blog about her cat, we're more likely to be seen as chronically bored than menacing. 'I'm so baffled by this idea that we're not supposed to Google people,' says Dean Olsher. 'Why would there be a line? Like everyone else is allowed to know something but I'm not?' But doesn't taking the google shortcut to a primeval, preindustrial pattern of recognition sometimes rob encounters of their inherent mystery or even get us in trouble? Tina Jordan, an executive in book publishing who has the same name as a former girlfriend of Hugh Hefner, says, 'I typically tell any blind dates before I meet them that they probably shouldn't Google my name, otherwise they'll be sorely disappointed when they meet me.'"
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To Google Friends Or Not To Google, That Is the Question

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 28, 2012 @09:32AM (#41795941)

    You're seriously asking if one should dig up shit about one's friends or not, as if that was a valid question?

    Are you insane?

    No really: Are. You. Insane?

    Friends are people that you *trust. Do yo know what trust is?
    Trust is when you don't know, and rely on somebody anyway.

    If you can't rely on your friends... then sorry... but they are not friends.

    And to be frank: The one thing missing from today's society... is that we aren't friends anymore.
    Because some clinically insane psychopaths... care only about money... above all else...
    and we are stupid enough to hold that up high, as if it were an ideal.

    • by AliasMarlowe (1042386) on Sunday October 28, 2012 @09:55AM (#41796055) Journal

      You're seriously asking if one should dig up shit about one's friends or not, as if that was a valid question?
      Are you insane?

      Perhaps they meant "friends" (of the Facebook variety) rather than friends (real ones that you meet in real life).

      If anyone I care about had any online-only "friends", I'd probably consider it wise if they Googled such "friends" and still kept them in the dark about private items. On the other hand, I'd consider it curious if anyone were to Google their real friends.

      As TFS and TFA said, we're wired to have a relatively small group of friends whom we know quite well (and who know us in return) through regular exchanges in real life. All others are merely acquaintances (like members of a neighboring tribe whom we hear about but rarely encounter), even if deceptively labeled as "friends" by network or workplace. The friend word is really being abused nowadays.

      • by war4peace (1628283) on Sunday October 28, 2012 @10:28AM (#41796221)

        The term "friends" lost all its weight since the advent of Social media. I resist this trend, that basically imposes the fact that any whoever who adds you to their account (or you add to yours) is a "friend". I call bullshit.

        • by OldSport (2677879) on Sunday October 28, 2012 @11:16AM (#41796523)

          Basically this is why I cancelled my Facebook account. I keep in regular touch with my actual friends regardless, and all the noise from those relatively meaningless acquaintances is cut out. This is what was once known as "normal life." (For the acquaintances with whom I do want to maintain a contact channel for whatever reason, I have a LinkedIn account, which I basically only look at once a month, if that.)

          As for Googling people, all I can say is some people have too much time on their hands. I'm either working, playing, or spending time with my family. I don't have the time to play cyber detective, and even if I did, I couldn't really give two shits about digging up dirt on people.

          • by Deep Esophagus (686515) on Sunday October 28, 2012 @11:29AM (#41796599)

            The alternative, in the case of friends whose preferred form of communication is Facebook, is to use Facebook exclusively for actual friends. I don't add people I met online (and rarely even know their real names). I don't add friends-of-friends. I don't even add relatives of friends unless I know the relative personally. I don't add people I have encountered briefly in the recent past. I don't add people I went to school with and now don't remember their names or anything about them. With two or three exceptions, I don't add people I have never met in person. I don't add people who work at the same company I do (some 2000+ employees worldwide) unless I actually work with them on a regular basis.

            The result? I actually know and care about and trust the people I call friends on Facebook, and have no trouble calling them friends in the classic sense. Facebook, like any other tool, can be used to improve your life or destroy it. Unfortunately most people can't tell the difference and allow it to do more harm than good.

            • You forgot "make your account private" and "stop most Facebook apps from ever interfering with your account". Apart from that, what you said :)

            • Facebook, like any other tool, can be used to improve your life or destroy it.

              Agreed. Which is sort of why I don't bother with a Facebook account at all, while my wife, who does, seems to be quite good at keeping only real friends as FB friends.

              Getting back to the googling of friends, it seems to me that the usual rule applies: if there's something you don't want to appear on the internet, then keep it offline. And, of course, be very careful to make sure any Facebook users of your acquaintance are suitably discreet about your taste for ostrich pornography. :)

        • by myowntrueself (607117) on Sunday October 28, 2012 @07:41PM (#41799991)

          The term "friends" lost all its weight since the advent of Social media. I resist this trend, that basically imposes the fact that any whoever who adds you to their account (or you add to yours) is a "friend". I call bullshit.

          I was once party to a conversation in which one of my workmates mentioned that a certain semi-famous actress and writer (Felicia Day) was a friend of theirs. One company director who was also involved in the conversation and a big fan of Felicia Day appeared very impressed. The nature of this 'friendship' very quickly became clear and I exclaimed "ohhhh you mean she's a name on a list on one of your social networking sites?" My workmate was not terribly happy. But it was hilarious.

        • I don't think the term lost its weight. Most people (in my opinion) seem to very well know the difference between friends and [Facebook] friends. Facebook just used the wrong term for the entire thing. I just call them contacts.

          • Ask teenagers, see what they say. I heard many say "I have 500 friends" only to later find out they meant "Facebook friends" - but they don't tell the difference between true friends and online contacts.
            Yahoo Messenger got it right, it holds contacts. MSN messenger holds contacts as well. Facebook holds... friends (?)

      • by Anonymous Coward

        nowadays? Clearly, it has been a long time since a woman told you "let's just be friends."

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Googling is not "digging up shit". It is googling and there are no analogies to it, no historical activities equal to it. No, not even a car analogy. If someone puts something in internet, then it his fault for putting it there. Then anyone can see it there without digging up anything. They just google it and there it is.

      Moreover, how lazy can people be if typing words in Google search gets equal with shoveling manure? I'm not asking are you insane, I'm asking are you that lazy? Do you break sweat while usi

    • by someones (2687911)
      Have you heared of the term "better safe than sorry"

      /devil's advocate
    • by AmiMoJo (196126) * <mojo@NOspaM.world3.net> on Sunday October 28, 2012 @11:35AM (#41796643) Homepage

      The information you find on Google is hardly trustworthy anyway. If you google my name you will find some religious nut job spouting rubbish that I would never endorse. Due to having a name that is associated with that religion though you would be forgiven for assuming it was me if you were a potential employer.

    • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Sunday October 28, 2012 @11:46AM (#41796749) Journal
      Is typing someone's name into a search engine 'digging shit up' about them? Anything a search engine can find about me is likely to be stuff that I've intentionally made public, and so it's stuff I'm happy to have friends do it and potentially discover mutual interests that just haven't come up in conversation. It's not like paying a PI to follow someone around...
      • "Intentionally"? Why do you keep using that word? I do not think it means what you think it means. I've found out by googling my name that Google indexed all of my Picasa photo albums with my REAL NAME attached online. I use it for all kinds of joke images I create for online forums, quick pic linking etc. Luckily there was nothing bad there, but lots of people do what I did not knowing the unforeseen consequences of the total information awareness era.

    • Are you insane?

      Have you noticed a shift in the types of questions we're getting as Slashdot was last purchased?

      My guess is that some those questions are completely made-up and that they're based on the new owners' mistaken belief that we are all still a bunch of nerdy social retards.

      And granted speaking for myself at least, I was indeed a clueless social retard, but that was around twenty years ago. And some time between twenty years ago and until now, I grew up, I grew up at least a little bit. And I suspect that many of

      • by Velex (120469)

        My guess is that some those questions are completely made-up and that they're based on the new owners' mistaken belief that we are all still a bunch of nerdy social retards.

        Yes. Not only socially retarded, but also somehow arrogant or the "brilliant jerk" for instance.

        It seems like it's an attempt to troll out all the outraged responses of geeks pointing out all the ways that stereotype doesn't apply to them. Let's face it. Computers are sufficiently advanced technology; they're magic. Folks who can't figure out how to wield the magic get jealous, and they place personal blame on the wizards that the computer gods favor.

        It's the "teacher's pet" dilemma. Why is one th

  • by michaelmalak (91262) <michael@michaelmalak.com> on Sunday October 28, 2012 @09:33AM (#41795949) Homepage

    As I wrote two years ago here, 20th century anonymity was an anomaly [slashdot.org].

    The return to societal accountability will be a good thing, in my opinion, but the panopticon that prevents business and political trade secrets and that immortalizes peeping-tom photos will be bad things.

    • Dream on (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Snaller (147050) on Sunday October 28, 2012 @10:05AM (#41796089) Journal

      Not one of the people I know have a "presence online" - Google may know about them because they use Android, but they have no profiles on plus, facebook, myspace or anywhere else, they do not post updates about themselves constantly and if i google their names i get someone else with that name.
      And only small fry will be held "accountable" the big ones will continue to get away, as they always have.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Everybody makes mistakes, people's memory gets fuzzier and dimmer over time. Life moves on. Now, a mistake you make when you are 14 can haunt you for the rest of your life. How is this better?

      • Now, a mistake you make when you are 14 can haunt you for the rest of your life. How is this better?

        When you go to apply for a job, they ask, "Do you have any convictions other than traffic violations?" That's because traffic violations have always been public record. When teenage indiscretions become commonly known, society will adapt to what level of indiscretion is acceptable.

    • by BenEnglishAtHome (449670) on Sunday October 28, 2012 @11:42AM (#41796707)

      Your take on anonymity in that old post remains just plain silly.

      ...anonymity was unique to the 20th century. In the 19th century, due to transportation constraints, everyone knew who you were and what you did.

      No. Just...no.

      Even in the late 19th century and certainly for all of history preceding that time, anyone who wanted anonymity could simply walk away. I've often thought that if I had been born in 1830 or so on the east coast of the U.S., before I reached my 20s I would have started walking west. I might have died in the first week. I might have achieved great things. I'll never know.

      I do know, however, that anonymity was easily achieved in those days. Walk 10 miles, make up a new name for yourself, forget your past, and keep walking. Lather, rinse, repeat as often as your own personal demons or desires drove you to do so. Anonymity just came with the territory.

      What we are facing in the near future is historically unique - a true, inescapable loss of anonymity made possible by a panopticon that never forgets, that is even learning to recognize our faces. That, imo, is a truly scary prospect.

      • Spot on.

        No mod points today, alas.

      • As far as that particular period of American (in the broadest possible sense, relating not just to the terrority of the modern US but to "the Americas") history goes, you're right, but that hasn't been the norm in most of the world for a very long time. Ever since we settled down and started farming, most people were born, lived, and died within a day's walk of the same spot. Even before that, I suspect, most people lived their lives surrounded by more or less the same people, even if the location changed

        • by BenEnglishAtHome (449670) on Sunday October 28, 2012 @02:07PM (#41797779)

          It appears you're trying to make my point for me.

          Ever since we settled down and started farming, most people were born, lived, and died within a day's walk of the same spot. Even before that, I suspect, most people lived their lives surrounded by more or less the same people, even if the location changed.

          Exactly. Most people don't care about anonymity and thus it has always been rare. It was less rare over the last few hundred years but it's always been uncommon.

          Uncommon. Not impossible. Big difference.

          Illustrations? Here's something random - a quote from Tom Horn:

          There were many different branches making up the Apache tribe. There were the Tonto Apaches, San Carlos Apaches, White Mountain Apaches, Cibicus, Agua Caliente (or Warm Springs), and last and worst of all were the Chiricahuas. All of these Indians spoke the same language, but were divided according to their dispositions. Thus a bad Tonto would leave the Tontos and go to the Cibicus or the Chiricahuas, and a timid Chiricahua would move to the Tontos, so at the time of which I am writing, you could find a good Indian or a bad Indian by knowing to what tribe he belonged. They all wore their hair different, and for one accustomed to them they could be told apart as far as you could see them.

          That's just one example of the fact that it's always been possible, even in small societies where everybody knew everybody, to re-invent yourself and leave your old persona behind.

          Changing your surroundings, your people, and achieving anonmymity has always been possible. It's just never seemed particularly worth the trouble except for a few folks who *really* don't fit in.

          Thus the stage is set for today where not enough people understand or value anonymity enough to fight for it despite the fact that it's on the verge of ceasing to exist, a sea-change in the human condition brought about, uniquely in this age, by technology.

          I love tech because I know how powerful it is. At the same time, it's something easily perverted to nefarious purposes that will be damn near impossible to resist once they take hold. I find your throw-up-your-hands-and-surrender attitude (to paraphrase, "Anonymity is a historical blip. When it's gone, no big deal") sets my teeth particularly on edge this morning. I think you're wrong but I apologize if I've been a bit rude in the way I expressed that conclusion.

          At least I didn't quote LBJ to make my point; I'm not going to be that much of an ass.

          • It appears you're trying to make my point for me. ... to paraphrase ... At least I didn't ...

            Wow, you've really memorized the sophist's playbook, haven't you? Um, congratulations, I guess. You might want to consider a career in politics.

            Anyway. I'm not the OP, and you shouldn't confuse us; my post was intended to endorse neither your view or his, just shed a little historical light on the matter. Which, BTW, your bit from Tom Horn (not exactly the most reliable of sources, I suspect) doesn't, particularly--assuming that what he says is true at all, it's a good bet that everyone in the various A

    • Social Accountability? I guess safely being gay is right out the door then. Hm. Actually, anything that society does not approve of is gone. I love living under fundamentalist rules(sarcasm). Sex before marriage? Since I am a guy, not too much of a problem but my girlfriend... ouch. Yes, Social Accountability is a great thing. :)

      I actually disagree that lack of Social Accountability is a 20th century anomaly. Anonymity started, to a certain degree, as soon as cities larger than a few hundred people started

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 28, 2012 @09:35AM (#41795957)

    "Googling is an attempt to recreate a primeval, preindustrial pattern of interaction."

    Yes, I, too, long for the good ol' days of yore when we all used AltaVista...

  • by DaveGod (703167) on Sunday October 28, 2012 @09:36AM (#41795959)

    It's just weird to go making an effort hunting down info on people's past. Wedding announcements and LinkedIn profiles are either pushed to you or stumbled across.

    Also, people change. People also say things that they were happy to say publicly at one point in time, that now they might not. Not necessarily because it's inherently embarrassing or whatever, but the context changes with age and environment. Maybe what was written at 17 isn't something you particularly want someone to read now you're 27.

    I guess there's also a weird power/balance thing going on when one person has read up on someone's history, and the other hasn't.

  • by mrbester (200927) on Sunday October 28, 2012 @09:38AM (#41795971) Homepage

    In order for someone to find me on Google they have to know such detail for the search terms that it renders the search pointless.

    • That's you think Mr Alfred Bester. Earth Alliance Psi Corps. Psi Cops division, Level 12 Investigations. Licensed rating P12.

      Oh... wait...

  • Google Doom (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    "I typically tell any blind dates before I meet them that they probably shouldn't Google my name, otherwise they'll be sorely disappointed when they meet me."

    I have mastered the Art of Disappointment; I don't need Google for that.
    But on a related note, a malicious person spent a fair amount of effort salting Google against me, anonymously. Fortunately, my name is uncommon enough that a renowned, blameless, Indian cook probably bears the brunt of the pain. (My professional name

    • When I google someone, I cross-check the results against what I do know about them and/or include things I know (such as the city where they currently live) in the search terms, and I filter out anyone that is obviously not the person I am stalking... I mean, getting to know better. As often as not I have an email address, and I simply google that.

      Ten years ago, I wouldn't find much if anything, except for the few people who had a blog. Now, it's almost always their Facebook page.

      When does it cross the li

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Oh hell go ahead and Goggle as you know would were going to anyway... and just keep your mouth shut.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Yes, Google them and spread the news about any dirt you find, but then don't wonder why they never even acknowledge you ever again.

      Truly, the OP is no friend of whoever they want to Google, go dwell in the past and leave them to find real friends in the present.

  • by TaoPhoenix (980487) <TaoPhoenix@yahoo.com> on Sunday October 28, 2012 @09:47AM (#41796023) Journal

    And once upon a time you could move to a new town and start over if you screwed up too bad.

    By this point silly things you do with your buddies will be online for semi-forever (however long it takes the website and mirrors to fail). Then you get bored "Google Monkeys" (my term) who would have been nice to you but they saw you wearing the dead cat stuffed animal on your head first.

  • by Nemosoft Unv. (16776) on Sunday October 28, 2012 @09:49AM (#41796031)

    I don't know about you, but this strikes me as odd:

    "Henry Alford writes that in an ideal world, we would all use Google to be better friends [....] to get to know them better."

    Why would I use a computer to get to know a friend better? Wouldn't it make much more sense to actually *talk* to them, let them (and their friends) tell you stories about their past, including the embarrassing ones their friends and acquaintances will dig up for them (whether they like it or not :)). What's wrong with going to a bar together, go to their birthday party or join them for a weekend break? Isn't that what friends are for?

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Plus a person on the web is unfiltered and fake at the same time. People I'm friends with in real life wouldn't be my friend if I based it on their stupid Facebook post.

    • by TaoPhoenix (980487) <TaoPhoenix@yahoo.com> on Sunday October 28, 2012 @10:13AM (#41796129) Journal

      Yeah, now Google Kim Stafford and Tea Party and then you know every HR person she ever meets will do the same.

      http://blog.al.com/spotnews/2012/10/internet_fail_the_truth_about.html [al.com]

      • Wow, that's one of the most extreme cases of Poe's Law in action that I've ever seen. At least it sounds like she's taken the right actions to correct the problem as much as she can; hopefully future employers will take this into account.

    • by houghi (78078)

      I was thinking the same thing.
      Also most of my friends I could not find anything that I either did not know or did not need to know.

      And reading a LinkedIn entry? Seriously? I know that some of them are at least partly untrue. And why would I be ripping open old wounds by talking about her/his dead cat?

      When I was working in a hotel, they told me to wear a name tag. I asked why. They told so people would know who I was. I told that if people are interested in me, they can ask me.
      When forced, I just put in my l

    • I'm glad I wasn't the only one who saw this and went "what the hell?"
       
      Our pre-industrial pattern was to seek out information about people either from them personally or from personal interactions with other people. Not to obsessively gather information anonymously.

    • by antdude (79039)

      Because they are too far, too expensive, too busy to hang out in real-time, etc.?

  • by fermion (181285) on Sunday October 28, 2012 @09:56AM (#41796061) Homepage Journal
    So in the imperfect world we go out and meet people, listent to them, try to get a feeling of who they are and how they might fit into our lives. When we are younger we interact in groups and observe how others interact, learn to do so ourselves. We try to believe what we see and feel more than what others tell, but will listen to what other trusted friends say if we are in a emotional state to do so.

    But instead we are to google potential friends/mates/bed mates/spouses and believe what we read. Believe that what they posted is more of a truth that what they tell us. That what some stranger wrote about them should effect our feelings. Sure, one can argue that 'if I had only googled I would not be married to a serial rapist', but really was there no clue in conservations or actions. Would accusations on line really have overcome the desire for partnered life that all so often clouds all other good judgement?

    And the reason that doing a background check on a friend or whatever is considered in bad taste, and google has just made this easier, not possible, is that it is a violation of trust. When one has a person sitting there, why not just ask? Why do we need to go to our smart phone? Is it that we won't trust the answer? In that case there are problems that a background check won't solve. Linked in and facebook, those are for people in our lives who are strangers or perhaps who have become more strangers than friends. It is for young people who have not developed any significant relationships. It is for parents who want to keep track of their kids, who are moving from a dependency where the parent knows everything to a dependency where secrets are kept. Or for keeping up with people who you have sex with on an occasional basis.

    But in now way is google going to let us have better friends. A good friend is not going to be based on total recall. A good salesman who can maximize purchases needs this. Perhaps if one just uses friends for cash and rides this would be useful. But people like genuine interest that falls from genuine interaction, even if that interaction is not always authentic. Maybe search engines will let us have more friends, one for each specific situation. Maybe it will let us have encounters without wasting money on drinks that do not produce desired results. Maybe, in some abstract technical sense, we can be matched up with a friend that is our perfect companion. But what fun would that be.

  • Google them (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Nothing beats knowing a person without talking to them. In fact, you don't even have to meet them once you've googled them, which is going to be great during flu season, or any time for that matter. Sure, you might have a totally skewed perspective on your "friends", because they're not the same person online, but that's a small price to pay for not having to talk to people, right?

  • by hack slash (1064002) on Sunday October 28, 2012 @10:03AM (#41796085)
    You shouldn't be surprised when people view it.
    • by girlintraining (1395911) on Sunday October 28, 2012 @01:37PM (#41797519)

      You shouldn't be surprised when people view it.

      Most of what's out there isn't by the person's choice -- crappy privacy controls, people reposting, revenge photos, and leaked e-mail signatures... most of what google picks up about the average person was put there by a corporation that is trying to monetize that private data by making it public.

    • by afgam28 (48611)

      Well yeah, in that way the internet is the same as real life. If you do something in public, you shouldn't be surprised that people see it.

      But it is still super creepy if some acquaintance of yours knows every detail about what you do in public.

  • God dammit (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    What the fuck is wrong with people these days? If you want to get to know somebody better, TALK TO THEM. Why is it that the internet has made people forget how to socialize properly?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Kate Fox sounds hot, I think I will google her.

    • Kate Fox sounds hot, I think I will google her.

      I think that it is a KDE text editor plugin for Firefox.

  • If I know a person in real life I don't need to Google anything, I just ask them, and if cannot ask them I shouldn't be asking for answers in Google since it is none of my business. People have a right to privacy, even from their friends. Being a friend does not entitle you to know everything about your friend.

    Now if we are talking about online only friends, I think the most acceptable thing to do is just read whatever they have in their Facebook profile, pictures, etc. That is information people wanted to

  • General searches will tell you a lot more about what somebody was like in the past. People change... particularly over the course of decades. And now we're accumulating those lengths of histories on the 'net.

    Also, some sources will reflect who you are in relation to the theme or concept you interacted with. LinkedIn is a great example -- it tells how a person is when they're posturing for job contacts.

    I do also agree with some of the previous statements regarding trust, as it's the basis of any relations

  • I so baffled by this comment: 'I'm so baffled by this idea that we're not supposed to Google people,' says Dean Olsher. 'Why would there be a line? Like everyone else is allowed to know something but I'm not?'

    Googling someone and reading things they have posted is not so good but not too bad either. People probably expect time and obscurity will make them anonymous to future acquaintences.

    Looking through everything that is available through google or on line is like rifling through someone personal papers o

  • Common names (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Guru80 (1579277) on Sunday October 28, 2012 @11:23AM (#41796581)
    Thank God for having a common name. Let's face it, the ONLY reason "friends" or acquaintances Google you is to find the dirt you have revealed for whatever reason to use your past to judge your present. I've seen it happen time and time again.
    • Re:Common names (Score:4, Interesting)

      by GodfatherofSoul (174979) on Sunday October 28, 2012 @12:18PM (#41797003)

      Agreed. The only legitimate reasons I can think of for googling an acquaintance is if you're about to enter a business relationship or you're a woman going on a date with a man you don't know well. I'd never google a friend's name unless they told me to to look at a link (and that has happened before).

  • In the English world, namely the US and the UK, it seems that everyone has the same name. As a result of this, you simply can't look up someone on Google or anything else.
    It is extremely inconvenient.

    Couldn't you people try to get unique last names at least?

    • You need to move out of your gated community if you think that.

    • I have a unique name. I have tried to find someone with the same name as me, and the closest I came was a dead guy from Australia, who had a different middle name. But, being unique is somewhat concerning because I can't hide, especially in a context like this (as it would be trivial for anyone on /. to try my name). But, the solution is that I simply don't put anything online that I don't want the world to know. Good thing I'm not famous for anything, so no one has any reason to try stalking me.

      It woul

      • Also, why do you think there are so many strange given names (or strange spellings) becoming popular now?
  • If my name is plugged into Google the first two or three pages show results for people who are a LOT more interesting than I am (one guy even has a really cool looking band). Last time I looked the top result was a vice president of some large chemical company. Thankfully my real self doesn't show up for a few pages and even then it's nothing I wouldn't want out there.
  • by GodfatherofSoul (174979) on Sunday October 28, 2012 @12:21PM (#41797027)

    Tons of forum posts on techie sites, but also a lot of first page links to a guy with my same name who live<s|d> about 20 miles from my home town with a prison record. Luckily, his picture is posted in all the links, but imagine the problems that would cause otherwise.

  • I don't know about anybody else, but when I put something on the searchable web, it's because I want other people to read it, including (maybe even especially) my friends. Why would I be at all surprised or upset if they actually search for it and read it?

    If you don't want people to find pictures of you you with that beer bong or in that cosplay fetish outfit, maybe you shouldn't have put them up on the internet in the first place.
  • It's not appropriate to stalk people online, except I am sure the nanny state would love for everyone to be trained that this is acceptable behavior, so they can "say something" if they "see something."

    The way you get to know your friends better is to spend time with them and by being genuinely interested enough in them to ask open-ended questions and pay attention to their answers, and generally, you know, be a human being and a friend, not a detective.

  • I have a hard time believing people are actually sitting around googling each other. I have never done a search on anyone I know in real life. Not a boss, not a colleague, not a neighbor, not a friend, not a girlfriend, not a date. Nothing. Why would I? What could I possibly gain from it other than finding them blathering inanity in one place or another that colored my judgement of people who are otherwise nice to be around?

    I also don't befriend people I really know on social networks, either. Nor family m

    • How about a good laugh with your friends at all the ridiculous crap that shows up on google?
      At least, that's what my friends and I got out of it the few times we googled each other.
  • sometimes I want to know which neighborhood I'm about to waste several hundred thousand dollars on, googling people, finding out who their friends are, who they hang out with, what they are like - can tell me quite a lot about what I'm to expect of the neighborhood. I don't feel like moving in next to hells angels & gangsta territory, or a drug infested area.

    I usually don't bother googling people, but if they BOTHER me - eg. don't play nice...then I consider googling them and beyond. By nice I mean comm

  • You stand a great chance of being a winner!! :-)

    I just saw Tina Jordan (Hugh Hefner-kind) and,
    well -- how much worse can you get.

  • The standard car analogy may suffice here. Some companies make cars. Some companies make gas. Some companies hate freedom. Google used to had the motto "see no evil" but now they see evil everywher they look and so God will not take pity on them for much longer. It's like a car: imagine if you had a car and it hated freedom. You would send it to hell with all of those other freedom hating faggots in Lebanon/. That's what these jokers want from us.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      They should get you to write the article summaries. You make everything clearer but without over-simplifying.

  • From a non-cyberspace example, even: I got to know someone I'm studying with quite well, and would hear about this friend's fiancé. When I actually met the fiancé, I found it slightly awkward, as I already knew the answers to all the usual introductory social questions (e.g. "What do you do?", "Where are you from?", etc). It was a little bit odd, because there was nothing to start a conversation with.

    Similarly, if I googled someone to find out all about them (and was actually finding that person,

  • Lets all just wear RFIDs or barcodes so that we can scan one another in the street and learn all there is to know about someone. Then we can just meet someone, conduct the formal beep exchange, and then go straight to the bedroom if we like what we see. You won't even have to say anything; you'll be able to learn all the things they like about sex and will not even have to ask if they like it. Heck you won't even have to say goodbye or call the next morning. Society would be perfect!

The one day you'd sell your soul for something, souls are a glut.

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