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Google Me

Every once in a while, I Google myself to find out if a person or institution has stolen my work. And every once in a while, I have to report a theft of my intellectual and creative property to the legal department at the Author’s Guild who are tireless in their pursuit of the perpetrators. Given the inter-stellar reach of the internet, however, such theft is not that common or obvious—at least to me. I might find more violations of copyright if I probed deeper into the depths of Google, but I don’t because, in many respects, I’m happy that Google scans my work. Even some blog entries are scanned. And why shouldn’t I be pleased that my blog has readers? I am pleased; I just don’t want my entries to be stolen.

I am always astounded at how fast a piece of published writing goes up onto Google and also how many other women with my name exist, have died, or have a lubricious past. This morning I found a Ziegfeld Follies girl with my name—how dare she—who danced and posed “all wet” in the 1920s. Here’s the link: http://ohshitbacon.tumblr.com/ “Why are you all wet, baby?” the caption reads.

I know that my students Google Me before they decide to take my class though they rarely confess to their sleuthing. Occasionally they let slip a fact—my age, experience, or aching back for example—which they could not have known unless they’d Googled Me, read my blog, or have a friend who has taken my class. I don’t mind any of this, mostly because I can’t do anything about it, and because, as a University Adjunct Associate Professor listed on the University Website hyper-linked to Google, I am a public person. Not famous, but public. In fact, we all are these days—public persons I mean. To what extent we can maintain our privacy remains the challenging issue in the 21st century electronic world, along with copyright, theft, and our sense of humor when we are exposed as “all wet.”

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