For years, I thought I was a genius. I had made sure to make sure that my web history was always cleared out the second that I hit that “X” button, both at work and home. It’s not like I had anything terrible to hide – I just preferred it if my employer didn’t realize that I spent a chunk of the day researching whatever happened to the cast of Kid Nation since 2007.
However, I was a fool. Only recently did I realize that Google keeps a log of your innate searches. While you can individually delete results you’re not proud of, sorting through the entire bundle is a bit of a timely process. My history started on May 9th of 2006. Between 6:15 and 7:44 PM, I heavily researched the backlash against Morgan Spurlock’s SuperSize Me, as well as some vegan sites. Days later, I looked at sites pertaining to the Winona Ryder’s clothing theft. Later that same day, I googled “Hiring someone with a criminal record.” I plead innocent. While I can’t accurately portray what my brain was going through at 10:30 that morning, I can definitely tell you that I wasn’t masterminding a robbery that might – at some point – interrupt my future employment.
I have to admit that my curiosity piqued based on the ongoing Casey Anthony court case. Ms. Anthony’s Internet history was a piece of evidence based on her allegations, for all of the right reasons. On a trial based on the disappearance and death of her daughter Caylee, “how to make chloroform” was a search on her history that got her into hot water. Despite the varying evidence, I was curious about what people would find about me. Again, I figured the results would be barren.
Despite my personal opinions that Casey is guilty of the crime, I realized that I can’t use her ill use of Google as a solid argument. Bits of curiosity on my own behalf, if collected, could depict me as a terrible person. After all, how could one truly justify why they looked up a page titled “Criminal Records and How to Get Back into the Workforce”?
On a positive note, I realized how much I’ve grown since the search log had started. While I’m not proud of looking at eight Family Circus cartoons followed by googling “Sad, Lonely Woman,” I realized that searches about women’s health, rights, and birth control skyrocketed after I got that job at a health clinic. Besides that one search for “foreign birds” on May 16, 2011, followed by trying to find the contact information for Amy Sherman-Palladino (to let her know how disappointed she made me during her last season of Gilmore Girls) my searches were intelligent, informative steps that helped me move forward with improving my life.
From calorie counts to cyber-stalking Nickelodeon celebrities from the 90s, my history has not only outlined my life, but made me realize that people could judge me based on what I’ve researched. What I never knew existed served as a time capsule of my life for the last six years.
Now I ask you: What searches have you been ashamed of? Do you think you’d be clean if Google was used to define you as an individual?
Image Credit: http://thejosevilson.com