I haven’t been paying attention. The place changes so fast.
I find it is a healthy and normal internet activity to Google oneself™. While some might characterize this activity as self-indulgent and call it “ego-surfing,” those 21st-century web-savvy digitally-enabled electronically-mobile young semi-professionals amongst us… we know better. We’ve got enough stuff up on The Internet that the FBI doesn’t even have to ask us where we were four nights ago—we’ll tell them. I’d suppose, what with all this stuff lying around right here on this website, that I am counted among the no-privacy generation.
So I should really know (since I’m in charge of it) what about me is going up on the web. That’s half the idea of this glot-thing: to manage digital identity—all my junk in one pile. I was amused yesterday when a friend stumbled on an article about how to dump your travel partner that featured one of my Flickr photos. They’re all Creative Commons licensed, which means anyone can use ’em so long as they say who took ’em. Then today, for whatever reason, I decided instead of googling my name I would google my flickr name.
An article about a check-cashing place moving into a neighborhood. A post about natural selection and environment. A thought piece about “The Creator Economy” and Web 2.0. A German guy writing about American fireman and beer (I think). Many, many other things. Occasionally I’ll get an email asking for my consent to use a photo, or (since that’s not actually necessary) just a notice that someone has decided to use it. People make things out of my photos. Bloggers find them daily. I am all over the internet.
I’m not unthankful for such attention, however inattentive. This is a definite ego-boost for my ego-surfing as you could’ve guessed. It’s just that I had no idea how much I contributed. I’m not a photographer; I take photos. A long time ago, I used to touch up every photo I’d upload. Made sure each one had the right framing and adjusted the light levels. Used to work carefully on ’em. Thing is, I learned to trust my camera-hand. Framing is easy enough with a program like Flock. I still take out red-eye and sometimes play around a bit more. But by and large, I choose laissez-faire snapshot photography over the careful and deliberate shot.
What I’m saying is that I like that The Internet likes me. I just always thought, way in the back of my head, that there’d be time for perfecting things. Digital identity means what you contribute, you contribute instantaneously, no filter. Living freely on the internet where all your friends and family and old girlfriends and possible stalkers can see you has it’s disadvantages. But it can be fun from time to time (when you damn well catch up).