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!
" 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?