As promised, today’s blog post comes to you from my friend and CP, Kelly R.
Kel, you have the floor!
So it’s near the end of the day a couple of weeks ago, I’m in my office at work, the phone rings and I answer it as always:
Me: Hello, _______ ___ (insert name-I use my maiden name for work).
Caller: Is this the ______ (insert name) who went to the University of ___?
Me: ***thinking WTF??? Who is this calling me? What could they possibly want?*** But I don’t say that I say, “Yyyeeessss.”
Caller: This is ____ (insert name of ex-boyfriend who I haven’t spoken to since leaving college 15 years ago)!!!!!!!!
It takes me a minute to register the name. Not because it isn’t immediately recognizable to me (I went out with the guy for quite awhile), but it is SO ENTIRELY out of context. I mean I’m at work and I haven’t seen or talked to this guy in an age.
So the conversation starts out very awkwardly, and in fact I spend the first 15 minutes trying to figure out from him how the heck he found me.
The answer, you guessed it from the title of this blog: GOOGLE! He googled me. Frankly, *I’ve* googled me and didn’t think I could find me. Which is why I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how he found me googling. Seriously, he did go to a little effort. Which is a little unnerving. The fact that he called me at all kind of freaked me out.
Sure, I’ve thought about what happened to him over the years, as I’ve wondered about countless others who were friends or boyfriends or whatever. You know, in 30 second “I wonderâ€¦” blips in your mind here and there. I’ve even googled some people myself. But NEVER have I thought about or actually picked up the phone and called someone who I googled.
This all comes about 3 weeks after an old neighbor/childhood friend of mine tried to contact me through Classmates (although I’m really not registered there – or at least I thought I wasn’t-long story).
So this led to a few discussions among my friends: Why did this guy do this? I’ve got a few theories. Frankly, even though we talked for awhile and basically caught up on what people we knew were now doing, I never broached this subject directly. I wasn’t sure I wanted to know. I’m happily married, so to a large extent it didn’t really matter to me. I was over him by the time I left college, soâ€¦ But why do you think someone does this? Am I just at that age where everyone becomes really curious about what happened to everyone else? I’m about a year away from my 20 year high school reunion (ACK!! It does not seem like that long!!) Frankly, I think I’d be more apt to contact a friend than an ex and there was a consensus among my friends that e-mail would be more appropriate than phone. My best friend from college and I agreed, also, that although we’re curious to find out what has become of people we knew, we feel more strongly that we don’t want to put our personal information out there for everyone else. Is it just us or does everyone out there feel this need for privacy?
I actually spoke to one co-worker who did google someone and then called them, but it was a very unique situation. Lots of unresolved issues in that scenario because they had been engaged, he was in the military and kind of disappeared off the radar, so she thought she was dumped, only for him to reappear later thinking they were still engaged (how he could think that with no contact???) but she was married and pregnant by then. So when she later got a divorce she did google him and called him. But I think that is a weird situation that makes some sense, not the random google stalking I experienced.
Amongst my writing friends, we’ve discussed whether google stalking lends itself better to a romantic comedy where the google stalker is the hero, or a romantic suspense where he’s the crazy stalker guy who is after our beloved heroine and looking to knock off our hero.
What do all of you think? I’m dying to know, too, whether anyone else has experienced the google stalking. So come on, give a shout out.
Thanks to Erica, for letting me use her forum here to satisfy my own curiosity.
Your turn: Are you or someone you know a MySpace/Google stalker? Have you had good or bad experiences with locating people you know–or information about people you know–on the Internet? Has anyone found you–or information about you–online, and acted on that discovery? Do you think this could be a good hook/premise/plot point for a romance hero/heroine/villain? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments!