Friday, April 11, 2008

Life: Googlegängers

Do you know what a Googlegänger is?

If you've ever Googled yourself and found that there is someone in the world with your exact same name leaving a document trail on the Internet, you've found your Googlegänger.

Almost two years ago I confessed to Googling my own name. I even wrote a post on it:
Doesn't everyone Google her own name? In the post, I documented a few other Haley Hughes's out there in the world.

I've often wondered if I was being strange and creepy, but decided I wasn't when I noticed searches for "Haley Hughes" showing up in my SiteMeter reports. I figured not everyone could be looking for me specifically.

Then, this morning, I read a New York Times article on the very subject titled Names That Match Forge a Bond on the Internet. When I read it, I laughed to myself and thought, "Hey, more people do that than I realize! Cool!" Then I bookmarked the story to share in my Google Reader Shared Items (see the right-hand column of this blog), and thought little more about it.

Then, about 15 minutes ago, I actually communicated with one of my Googlegängers!

"This may seem a bit random, but I googled my name which is also Haley Hughes, and found your blog," my Googlegänger wrote to me in an email. "I don't email strangers like this, I just thought I'd introduce myself. It seems like such a small world!"

I was instantly charmed and wrote her back immediately.

I have to confess to having some near-introductions with other Haley Hughes's via misdirected email -- a grandmother trying to contact her granddaughter, a friend trying to arrange a gathering -- but I never actually talked with the Haley Hughes in question.

To me, what is so startling about meeting and seeing other Haley Hughes's out in the world is that I spent the first 20 years of my life without meeting a single other "Haley" (regardless of the last name or spelling). I predate the "Haley" trend in baby naming by a long shot. Growing up I constantly heard, "Oh, Haley, that's an unusual name! I've never heard that before!"

Now the name has gone through a few phases of popularity, but it still startles me to be out someplace and hear my name being attached to someone else.

So, now, when I see someone named "Haley Hughes" (or Hayley or Hailey or Hayley or Hayliegh, but especially Haley), I feel an instant connection and curiosity.

So if you're reading this and your name is Haley Hughes (or any other variation of Haley), feel free to drop me a line.

On a side note, there's a romance novel titled The Cowboy Finds a Bride with a heroine named "Hailey Hughes". I know this because Cathie Linz, the author, is a friend and she borrowed my name for the character (although she changed the spelling). :)

Has anyone else met or tracked their Googlegänger?


  1. that's really cool!

    I've googled my name a few times... there's a lawyer, actress, real estate agent, and I come up in the third spot for "Lisa Morris" for my account LOL

    I've never contacted my "Googleganger" before... but I think I might! (As a new thing hee hee)

  2. I'm happy to supply ideas!

    I can't wait to read about it. :P

  3. Haley Hughes4/23/2008

    Hi, Haley Hughes. This is Haley Hughes. I am the newspaper intern you mentioned in your blog post more than a year ago when you first Googled your name. I am now a newspaper reporter living in Aiken, S.C. I too received an e-mail from Haley Hughes, the artist. I haven't written her back yet. I was surprised to see you mention me in your blog. I was just telling my co-workers about this and I might write this Googling your own name trend as an article.

  4. That must have felt strange to type. "Hi, Haley Hughes. This is Haley Hughes." LOL

    I don't know if you figured it out from this blog, but I used to be a reporter also. Someone was kind enough back then to point out to me that Haley Hughes rhymes with daily news. :)

    Thanks for making contact. If you do write the article about Googling your own name, I'd love to read it. Please let me know.

  5. Haley Hughes4/27/2008

    Hi Haley!

    I was the one that emailed you around a week ago. I got a email a few days ago from Haley from S.C. and she told me about your post. I didn't realize you emailed me back until I read it! So I'm thinking I deleted it. Sorry! I think seeing my(our) name must have confused me lol! This is really too funny we are all connecting. When I decided to email you girls I really though you might think I'm strange. So it's great to hear from you both. This is both exciting and a riot we are all in touch and finding we have things in common. I also am a Taurus which I thought was funny! My b-day is April 24th! Thanks for responding and hope to hear from you again!

  6. Happy Belated Birthday, Haley! (Mine is coming up in about a week.)

    I re-sent the email to you, so I hope you get it this time. Are you the artist Haley from New York? Or another Haley Hughes?


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