My Googleganger did it

Looking at Google trends is one of my diversions.

Sometimes gamed or “Google bombed,” often weird and very often a good early indicator of mass trends or crazes.

Among the top 10 early this morning was the term: Googleganger. It’s not a new word, it’s been around at least a couple of years and why it is hot today I have no clue.

Odds are, you have a Googleganger.

Your Googleganger is someone who has the same name as you who appears when you “Google” yourself.

It comes from combining Google with Doppelg�nger, which refers to a look-alike. No less than the American Dialect Society voted it the “most creative word of 2007.”

As a journalist, I find Google trends to be a very useful way of looking at how people are reacting to news (broadly defined). I’d love to hear how other people use it or view it in the comments (hint, hint).

2 Replies to “My Googleganger did it”

  1. Shamefully, I have a hard time finding myself on page one of my own Google search. My Googleganger is another journalist. Old friends and professors who want to see what I’m up to find my byline in New York Daily News and the Wall Street Journal. Not bad for a couple of years out of school! If only it was really me…

  2. Long before Google, when I was a journalist in California, I would often meet people familiar with Sacramento politics and they would ask if wasn’t once a senior lobbyist in the Capitol.No. Not me.
    And that Howard Owens now lives in Oregon, where he once ran for office and can be found at howardowens.org.This morning, my name showed up in a Google alert: “Howard Owens is an idiot. He’s a moron.” I’ve heard those words hurled at me before, but thankfully this morning they were aimed at Howard Owens, the Hollywood executive producer of television programs (I figure, man, when he ego surfs he must be pissed that some no-name journalist gets better SEO than he does).There’s a Howard Owens who is a judge in New Jersey.
    There is a Howard B. Owens Science Center in Maryland.There is a Howard Owen who is a journalist and novelist.One of my strangest encounters with another Howard Owens has come entirely through gmail — apparently, Howie Owens of Tenessee has a gmail account very similar to mine.
    Some time years ago, somebody mistyped my address for his and sent out an e-mail to the ENTIRE family. For years I would get the occasional e-mail of this guy’s wife mailing me pictures of his kid.
    One time I wrote to her and said, “Who the hell are you and who’s this kid and why should I care.” She responded, “I’m your wife.” Um, no, you’re not.
    The mails slowed to nearly nothing for a long time after I sent a “reply-all” saying, “I’m not the Howard Owens you think I am, stop e-mailing me.” Then, two weeks ago, I got two tech-support responses from Microsoft clearly intended for the other Howard Owens. As a related note, my AIM handle is HBO3.
    There was also an apparently very promiscuous gay young man named Chris who lived in Orange County and used the handle “hbo3” on a number of other sites. For some reason, his male friends would think that was also his AIM handle.
    I would get pinged all the time by this guys — most were just a polite “hello,” but some opened with really explicit greetings.
    This went on for years. I would patiently to explain “I’m not Chris.”
    Early on when this started, Chris and I talked and he was apologetic and promised not to give out my AIM handle, gave me his to pass along.
    A couple of years ago, I noticed the messages stopped, and I checked and Chris’s web site is off-line (he tried a couple of times to convince me to sell him hbo3.com, which I never did).Yes, the googleganger thing can make for interesting moments in life.

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