In the 2008 action movie, "Wanted," the underdog Wesley Gibson (played to perfection by up-and-coming actor James McAvoy…drool!) types his name in the Google search box — and comes up with zero hits. To him, this signifies a sad truth about his existence in this world: he’s nothing. A nobody. An insignificant being living a meaningless life of drudgery. Zilch.
It’s as if Google has become the ultimate scale that weighs how significant someone is, not just in the virtual world of the internet, but in the real world as well. After all, isn’t the internet a microcosm of the real world we live in? It used to be that someone is considered significant when mentioned in a local newspaper or any published material. Well, the internet changed all that.
The word "google" has itself been transformed into a verb, as in: "Just google it, and you’ll find out," or "Google the information you want." These days, if you’re not on the internet in some form (anonymous or otherwise), it seems as if you don’t exist.
Call it the process of googlification. How googlificant (google + significant) you are is directly indicated by the number of hits you get from googling your own name. 😀
I do indulge myself in this game of googling, as some form of egoistic pasttime. I type in my own name and see how many hits will come up. I also type in the names of some people I know and see how googlified they are. It sort of feels like spying on other people’s lives, but hey, if it’s on the internet, it’s public knowledge, right? 😛
Sometimes, however, there are some people I know who, like Wesley Gibson, never register any hits on Google. Not even one! Makes me wonder where on earth they might be. I’m not at all saying that they’re living insignificant lives. It’s just as likely that they have managed to keep themselves out of the reach of the internet, who knows? Well, good for them, they’re probably living their private lives in relative peace and quiet.
On the other end of the spectrum, there are also some people I know who would score thousands of hits on Google. Part of the reason is their high level of activity as recorded on the internet. Another reason is the non-uniqueness of their names, and several people having the same names would come up as a result. Parents, remember to give your children unique names, or they’ll be lost in the sea of Google hits.
Like it or not, Google – or any search engine for that matter – is here to stay. It probably makes us dumber by the day as we rely on it for instant information we don’t bother to retain in our heads anymore. But somehow it has enabled simple people – like you and me – feel like mini-celebrities in our own rights, having a bit of spotlight with the likes of Pres. Obama or Paris Hilton. 😉