"Self-googling": Admit it, you do it

Eric B. Parizo, Executive Editor

Next time your ego gets too big for your friends to handle, send it on a trip to for a reality check.

While most surfers would be hesitant to admit it, "googling" or ego searching has become a common way of not only passing time on the Internet, but also of validating accomplishments or successes.

Ego searching is simple: Go to -- or the search engine of your choice -- type in either your name or the name of someone you know, and see how many times it appears across the Internet.

The practice is a non-scientific but often informative way to research co-workers, check out your in-laws, or get the lowdown on your next blind date before he or she ever reaches your front door.

However, there is a downside to the practice. On the Internet, your name might be linked to events best left in your past -- like that 1-12 season your college soccer team endured, or that embarrassing e-mail about your boss's bad toupee that cropped up on a public message board years later.

Perhaps the most sobering lesson that can be learned from "googling" is how little control you have over your Internet identity. Since a search often reveals a surprisingly hefty number of results, having a common name can make it easier to hide on the Web.

But watch out, because including information about hobbies and vacations in a bio on an employer's Web site may seem benign today, but a few years from now, when your significant other stumbles

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upon it, you may find yourself re-explaining that long-forgotten obsession with David Hasselhoff.

So remember, even if the ex you love to loathe hits the lottery someday, thanks to ego searching and that B-movie he or she did in college, you can always get the last laugh.

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