You know your life's in trouble when . . .

. . . you Google yourself more than once a day, says Ellie Levenson

It’s a common journalist joke to begin a sentence: “I slipped and accidentally typed my name into Google the other day . . .” It’s a fine line, though, between funny and tragic and I think I may have crossed it.

Recently, I was in the pub with a friend of mine, also a journalist. It was that time of the night after a few drinks when you can ask embarrassing questions. “Jack,” I said, “how often do you Google yourself?” Jack laughed. “Once a week,” he said confidently. “What about you?” “Oh, you know, once a day, if I remember,” I said. He smirked. Later, he came over to me. “Me too,” he confessed, “at least once a day.”

The thing is that once a day is nothing. If I am working from home it can be as much as once an hour. Not only that, but my mood is reliant on it. If I am having a four-figure Google day, everything seems better.

Jack called it an existentialist angst thing when I finally told him the truth. “It proves you exist, even if only in cyberspace,” he said.

A few weeks ago I dropped by 500 in a single morning. The effect was devastating. Luckily, I knew of a few other search engines and they rated me higher. If they hadn’t, I may have resorted to building my own website, or worse, blog.

The other day I varied my Ellie Levenson searches. I tried Ellie Levinson. It came up with an extra 20 hits. It was all I could do to stop myself writing to the blogger: “Dear blogger, I read with interest your entry suggesting that I write a load of drivel and have no sense of humour. Please ensure you spell my name correctly in future.”

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