Vanity Searches and Paranoia

Have you ever done a vanity search?

Type your name into Google and hit enter. That’s a vanity search. You’re now looking into not only how many people might have mentioned you on your sites, but also what they might have said, where they said it, and if they actually said it about you and not someone else by the same name. The expression ‘vanity search’ gives away what this is all about… though I admit that when I do it, it is both intriguing and terrifying.

And, of course, quite silly.

After all, someone might have said something quite rude about you, wherever. Someone might actually pretend to be you, somewhere, using your name and faking your personality. There’s all kinds of weird connected to the vanity search, once you get your name out there.

Some time ago, I did a vanity search for the first time in a long while. I remember being absolutely shocked because I had no less than 33,000 hits on my name Linda Bergkvist and almost as many on Enayla. I was deeply unsettled by this realisation and spent a few hours looking through what kind of stuff people had posted about me. In many cases (most) there were just brief mentions here and there but in places there were things like little essays or even fan clubs and this one forum where they were posting photos of me along with the pictures, trying to figure me out. I was so disturbed, in fact, that it wasn’t until this week (maybe six months later) that I did a new vanity search.

I don’t know how it happened, but I now had more than four times as many hits to my name. I won’t try to describe my expression with words, but it looked something like this:


Imagine my surprise. Imagine me poking through some pages of this and wondering why on earth these people are talking about me. It’s just weird. Here I’m sitting, holding a cup of hot chocolate – feet on the desk – cat on my legs, awkward and tired-eyed, looking like I’ve not slept for days… and there are these people out there who seem to think I’m some kind of celebrity – perhaps a tiny celebrity, but even so. It’s so messed up.

The vanity search has made me a little paranoid. I’d like to refer to it as a Paranoia Search, thankyouverymuch. If I post a ridiculous photo of myself in my pyjamas – will it turn up on some weird site a year from now the way the greedy one where I was eating chocolate did? I mean, I can’t help but laugh at it all… anyone who knows me knows I’m everything but… well, y’know, the kind of person people should be interested in writing about… and at the same time – yeah, I am feeling the paranoia coming on.

On a more amusing note, vanity searches are a very guilty pleasure. I’d hate to be caught doing it – it’s like sitting and staring at your own reflection in a mirror, vain and ridiculous (perhaps trying to figure your wrinkles out), when someone walks in on you.

So… do a vanity search… but be prepared for the worst. Any face is all wrinkles, freckles and ick if you look at it close enough. Hee, hee, hee.