I’ve always been rather proud of my google-ability.  When you type your own name into Google, it’s a handy look at your virtual image: this is how other people see you, when they type in your name.  My page looks great: I’ve got total rights to the name, since few Gaels have this specific spelling, and there are even fewer Huntresses that are even male.  (Which is why I helped to save the Huntress name from being daughtered out–but more on that later.)

Today I tried really looking at my name as someone else would spell it.  Somebody who

  • didn’t know me too well, and
  • may not have an education in Gaelic pronunciation or etymology.

I research other people online all the time.  Type their name into Google, surf a few pages, and see what comes up.  I thought for these other cold-callers and salesmen in the world who might have this habit, I left a tidy place for them to examine my profiles–on LinkedIn, and Twtiiter, and Facebook, followed by some random blog posts on Nings and such.  A courtesy from one Googler to another.

But it struck me today, that many people who spell my name, whether they are reading it off the business card I gave to them with a smile and a three minute chat, or trying to remember the name of that guy they met at that networking meeting, they may not spell my name correctly.

Misspellings are so commonplace with my handle that in person, I automatically assume nobody will get it right on the first try.

Indeed, no one yet has.

I often allow it, when someone I just meet tries to spell my name, as a challenge.  “Go on, try it.  I’m curious to see how creative you can get linguistically.”

I tried some of those spellings in Google tonight:

Caelen Huntress

Calen Huntress

Kae-lynn Huntress

Caleb Huntreff

Kailon Hunters

Kealion Huntress

I can right-click (or cmd-click, if I’m cool) on all of these misspellings, and on tabbed pages I can surf through the mistaken impressions of myself that exist out there in hyperspace.  All this time, I never new that this was how Googlers saw me, virtually, and my online identity wasn’t this tidy little collection of profiles that I thought everyone was seeing.

That’s just how I see myself.

It turns out, many other people see a completely different man when they search for me online.  I had no idea; it turns out the CAELAN HUNTRESS that I know is hidden only for those who wish to search for him.