Kgomotso Matsunyane

Google me, Google you

2007-12-20 08:55

Kgomotso Matsunyane

I'm not that old yet (35), but when I started university in 1991, there was no world wide web, there was no widespread use of internet, and there was definitely no Google.

By the time I graduated, I was sending e-mail to friends all over the world, and the www was a viable and vital tool through which to do my comps research. But sooner or later, we all have to face Google.

Have you "googled" yourself, lately? Well, I did, and I'm kind of shocked at the things a total stranger can deduce about me by my Google hits. It's a weird combination of ego mixed with total terror.

Is there anything our dear big brother, uGoogle doesn't know? Hell, you can even google in isiZulu or Setswana, if it tickles your fancy. Although typically what ends up coming up is stuff like "i-service", "i-cell phone" "i-conference". ("i" pronounced "ee").

Of course there are also hits associated with my name that have absolutely nothing to do with me (I swear), like a site called "phat black girls". Hmmm, and all because I wrote a column where I used the word "phat" and I'm black!

Black is the new green

And have you heard of "Blackle" - that's the google search site that uses a black background to cut down on the amount of kilowatts used, thus saving energy. "Black is the new Green" proclaimed one article.

I was tickled pink walking through Greenmarket Square yesterday and saw a t-shirt with "Googlethu" on the front. Genius.

Reading readers comments every week in response to my columns (yes, I do), especially the vitriolic ones (most bemusing), I sometimes wonder what lengths people might go to find out more about me. I suppose I'm wondering how easy it would be to trace me and say, throw a lemon meringue pie on my face.

Ridiculously easy, I worry. At the risk of giving whack jobs any more ideas, and you know I attract the best of them, all you need to know is my company and voila, there I am.

The best use for Google would be the ability to check out a prospective date. Most people, disappointingly are not Googlable, especially if they have a dime-a-dozen names like Molefe, Khumalo, or Smith. Does this mean that he's not "worthy" if he's not on Google? Remember the Seinfeld episode where men have to prove to Elaine that they are "sponge worthy''? Double genius.

What I really wish for is a place to check out people's credit records and most importantly, criminal records. I want to know if the person I'm about to date was ever arrested for beating up his baby mama, or if he was even a suspect in the Cleveland murders.

I know, innocent until proven guilty blah blah blah, but still, just an intimation of whether the brother has ever been a regular at Leeuwkop or Sun City is not too much to ask, surely?

And don't be fooled that "he did a stint on Robben Island" either, there were a lot of people who convicted for petty crimes who were also banished there.

So be careful where you leave your net prints, because uGoogle is most likely to retain some information that will inevitably come back to bite us when we least expect it.

Send your comments to Kgomotso.

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