Do You know your Googleganger?
October 11, 2007
Think you’re the only one who has your name? Think again
I have a unique name. How unique? Well, I don’t use my real name when I write, so you’ll just have to trust me when I have done an extensive search for it and come to the conclusion that I am the only person with that name living in the United States. Most people, though, do share their names with at least one other person.
Take one of my co workers for example. He shares his name with a high school, a church, and many, many, other people. His name seems to be so common, in fact, that it has become a running joke in our office. These other people are his virtual doubles, his Googlegangers, so to speak.
Just as the idea of “Googling” yourself or another person has become commonplace, the idea that everyone has at least one Googleganger is also slowly entering into the conversations of everyday people. The idea that everyone has a double existing somewhere is nothing new. Doppleganger is a German word meaning “double walker,” a so called shadow self that is thought to accompany every person. According to German tradition, only the owner of the doppelganger is able to see their shadow selves, and usually, these sightings are ominous warnings of death, or other tragedies.
In some cases, Dopplegangers are seen by other people, and according to the tradition, these sightings result in confusion for all concerned parties. There have been documented cases of so called actual sightings of Dopplegangers over the years, most notably, the case of Emilie Sagee, whose “double walker” reportedly appeared and disappeared quite frequently, in full view of Sagee’s students and friends.
Of course, the Googleganger isn’t a harbinger of death or disaster, but someone who has the same name as you can be a source of embarrassment when potential employers, as well as relatives, and friends decide to “Google” your name. For some, their Googleganger is a competitor, someone that they are constantly trying to “outrank” online.
When you find your Googleganger, as Matthew Slutsky, a Washington blogger did one day while online, why not make friends? Slutsky and his “double walker” networked online via Facebook, and have even hosted podcasts together, along with Slutsky’s real life Doppleganger, his identical twin.
As for me, don’t worry about my lack of a Googleganger. Although the combination of my first and current last name is unique, a woman with my first name and my maiden name does exist. She’s an English Professor in California and apparently, an avid quilter as well.