Saturday, September 18, 2004

If you can't be Googled, do you really exist?

If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears, does it make a sound?

If someone searches for you in Google and there are no results, do you really exist?

This was the topic of a conversation a while ago between Peter, our friend Lisa, and myself.

Lisa is an astronomer and has published zillions of academic papers so she is extremely Googlable. I can be found in Google if you combine my first name and anything to do with Rubik's cubes (eg. jasmine + cube, jasmine + rubiks). Peter did not have a website at the time of the conversation, but has since created one and so is now Googlable.

After some discussion, Peter, Lisa and I concluded that being Googlable is how you know you exist.*

Based on this logic, I tried to Google my former housemate, Tristan. We lived together for several years and used to work for the same employer as well. I've been wanting to get in touch with him just to say hello and see how he's going, but all the contact details I have for him are obsolete. And unfortunately, he's not in Google, which leaves me wondering - does he still exist??

(* Before anyone gets offended, I should point out that we weren't entirely serious.)


Paul Santos said...

No offense taken. I like your metaphysical question, though, pretty funny. It reminds me of the quote (and I'm paraphrasing), "if you can access Google from anywhere, and at any time, then you are omniscient, like God."

Google is a mystery to a lot of people...actually scratch that. The INTERNET is a mystery to a lot of people. People think that it holds secrets, that it holds answers to life. The consequence is that we give it more power than it really deserves.

At any rate, I do exist. Try "Paul Santos" and "Age of Mythology."

-Paul Santos

Jasmine said...

I just Googled ["Paul Santos" + "Age of Mythology"] and there were no matches! Are you sure you exist?? ;)

Anonymous said...

Ahh, but Jasmine you're forgetting one of the beauties of the internet, which is that here you can have a different identity to the one you have in real life.

For privacy reasons I tend to be pretty careful about where my personal details are published (although I do exist). But anyone who knows me will know that I'm almost always online.

How do you know you friend Tristan doesn't have a different online name?

As to the first question - of course it does. And I thought you were a science geek <G>...


Michiel van der Blonk said...

Hi Jasmine,
Here's my existence history:
1997: posted a story about the art of tea making. This was the only link that popped up when you googled me. It was a weird notion, because everyone techie that I new came up with the story on making tea.
2002: I created CarbonCredits. This became a higher ranking
2003: I entered the Rubiks Cube World Championships. There, I existed in combination with you. That was because you took pictures and posted them with my name as a caption. Your site was more popular then my previous publication.
2004: Now we're back at because Jess put a link to my timer!