13 April 2008


Get up. Make the coffee. Scan the NYT headlines. See if Gail Collins wrote anything today. That's my usual morning routine.

One day last week though I came across an article that referenced "googlegängers", which, as a word, apparently won the American Dialect Society's "most creative" new word in 2007. The existence of such an organization, and their evident authority to decide which new words are the coolest every year is fascinating in its own right, but I'll have to pick up that thought another time.

The definition for 2007's "most creative" word is pretty self-explanatory, but it refers to people that show up when you google yourself. It's a great word. I couldn't resist.

1. The first result is for a googlegänger that leads birdwatching tours on the island of Islay, in Scotland's Inner Hebrides. Aside from a healthy interest in birds, this guy seems to have his act together. Nice work, JH. Keep it up. http://www.islaybirding.co.uk/

2. MBA 2008 at the Tepper School of Business (Carnegie Mellon). Apparently JH #2 got an internship at Bain & Co. This one is just eerily close to home. Get a life, JH, and stay out of my arena!! I sort of want to apply for a job there just to confuse people.

2.5: A fake news story from the "Onion." The article intro refers to "Jason Hastings" but the body of the article changes the name to "Jeremy Hastings." I'm an "Onion" fan, so this was sort of special. I already wrote about it...

3. A Level I rugby referee in Australia. I don't know much about rugby, aside from the fact that Thunderbird must spend a fortune keeping its rugby pitch impossibly green. I'm not sure JH #3 would care about that.


There are others, including somebody's high school profile on "classmates.com" in Michigan, and somebody else with a court date in Ohio.

I finally show up on results page 2, with references to my LinkedIn and Friendster profiles. There's a Facebook link too, but it turns out it's for a Facebook googlegänger. Naturally this led to another search, which turned up 14 JH's on Facebook. The clones never end!

Results page two also features a JH that wrote some article in the "Journal of the Chemical Society" and a squash player. Moving through the pages there are references to a lot of people named Jeremy at Hastings High School in Nebraska, which marks the line where the gängers stop.

The takeaway here is that my life has not amounted to enough to bump me to page 1 result status, which gives me a new goal. Evidently my participation in the world's largest marshmallow fight in Skokie, IL wasn't enough. My entry in the 2006 World CowChip Throwing Championships didn't work either. I guess the google folks aren't interested in my attempts to toss bovine fecal matter (who could blame them, really).


I felt a little un-special after that last search, so I added my middle name and tried again. This strategy worked - there are no Google results with all three names, only a bunch of references to "Paul Hastings." Apparently people with this name are drawn to the legal profession.

Link to word nominations for 2007: http://www.americandialect.org/2007.WOTY.nominations.pdf

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