On Google-ability

Here's one of many instances where my being a writer, in addition to an agent, has gotten me into trouble: back in college, I thought writing pieces and having them printed all over the place was just the coolest thing, like, ever (this was, unfortunately, years before everyone from 20/20 to my mother--thanks, Ma--started warning us to be careful what we put online).

From beneath my agent hat, I know this: we Google you. We Facebook you. If you have a MySpace page with pictures of your seventeen cats, we'll soon know.

So why is it that--as one who now does the looking--I once did so little to prevent being looked at?

When one Googles me, there are four pieces that come up--one all right but edited to make me sound younger (the editors thought it just so cute); one that takes an unpopular position on a very unpopular topic--and the organization isn't great, either; one that is downright embarrassing, and makes one wonder if I, like those I interview (in retrospect I should have tossed out journalistic objectivity) have habits that are both illegal and embarrassing. I don't. But the association--being, as the character of the narrator, associated with them in this piece--it's enough that it would make me, as agent again, wonder. Authors do, too: every once in awhile I get an author asking terribly personal questions like, Saw your piece--gee, do you have health insurance now? Uh...I hope so.

The fourth piece is fiction--thankfully for writing, not thankfully for content. It is most certainly rated R, if not more than that. Thanks, college.

I tried to get rid of all of these, begging the website owners--to no avail. It's there. It's stuck. Nothing to be done.

Please learn from my mistakes.