- 18 May 2011
I discovered an interesting Google tool today. If you search for your byline with hyphens, like this: By-Jennie-L-Phipps – the results are very targeted.
I learned some things that weren’t surprising, but were useful. For instance, I blog daily for Bankrate.com about retirement, and as you might expect, nearly a year’s worth of multiple versions of these blogs popped up in my Google search, contributing significantly to the 67,000 hits for my byline. For me, the useful aspect of this is how easy it is to find old blogs — much easier than it is to search Bankrate’s online archives.
This experiment did surprise me for three other reasons.
First of all, there are my bylined pieces archived by Google going back — in one case — about 30 years. It’s not a memorable piece, and it certainly isn’t going to win me any Pulitzers, but the fact that it is still is available amazes me. It also reminds me that stupid things stick with you a long time in this brave new online world.
Second, stories take on a life of their own. For instance, eHow.com, which is owned by Demand Media, commissions short how-to pieces. Its authors document where the information came from and those footnotes pop up as my bylines in a Google search. I suppose that it’s good that eHow gives credit where credit is due. But I still think it’s sleazy way to do business.
And last, there are two very old exchanges of grumpy notes between me and people who apparently archive their email online. The minor disputes aren’t all that heated, but it’s a trifle embarrassing to think that they are preserved for posterity while other exchanges that are more reflective of the overall relationship were never saved. C’est la vie.