HAVE YOU ever “Googled” yourself?

Have you ever gone on the internet and carried out a search to see if, and how often, you are mentioned on the big, scary worldwide web? And if you DID find yourself on there, were you pleased?

Because if you have, and you were, then there’s something I’d like you to think about. And I’ve coined a phrase for it (just watch this catch on!) The phrase is: GOOGLE TATTOO.

These days when people get themselves tattooed they tend to get Celtic bands, butterflies, or, if they are really trendy, Winnie the Pooh. All very safe.

There was a time when people got themselves tattooed with the names (and sometimes faces) of their favourite pop star, macho movie icon or girlfriend. Which was all very well until the girlfriend ran off with the milkman – taking all the money with her. Or if the pop star later spent time in disgrace and in jail. Or if the film star was photographed in a compromising situation with a penguin wearing women’s lingerie and a lot of white powder on his face.

What was written on your arm was there for life. And you had to bear the consequences.

Well, the same is true of Google; only it’s even worse! There is a club singer I once met who has a fantastic website. The site includes videos, biography and stunning promotional photographs.

Unfortunately, he was convicted of passing dud cheques a few years back and if you search for him on Google what you find are the local newspaper cuttings about the trial and the subsequent community service work he carried out as recompense. There are also a few uncomplimentary quotes from the judge and the prosecution counsel.

I bet he has difficulty getting work after that. Somebody wishing to book him for the company night out Googles his name and gets, not the tremendous website, but all the scandalous low-down on his past exploits.

Then there is the comedian who felt his neighbour was making too much noise and demonstrated his views by throwing paint all over the wall onto his car. When he was picked up by the cops he was outside in the street dressed only in his underwear and talking to the pigeons.

His little drunken spree led to more column inches in the newspaper than he might have wished for. If you Google him what comes up is not what a brilliant comic and impersonator he is, but the whole sordid newspaper tale of the drink, the paint and the fact his wife left him as a result.

Like the singer with the dud cheques, the website is lost far down the list of sites that mention his name. A simple search brings up the sensational headlines about his stupid behaviour.

No events organiser or entertainment agent stumbling upon that story is going to give him a job, that’s for sure.

You see, it’s like a tattoo – a Google Tattoo – that these poor saps would rather wasn’t there. It’s a tattoo that loses them work and income. And, unlike a tattoo where you can have the offending information removed by laser, a Google Tattoo cannot simply be erased.

Tracking down the family tree will be a doddle in years to come thanks to Google. The yet unborn great, great grandchildren will be able to view pictures, videos and news clippings of what we looked like and what we did.

But these Google Tattoos will be there for them to see, too. Should you do something daft and get yourself in trouble, your Google Tattoo will follow you around for the rest of your life, and beyond.

If you want to lose business and have your great grandchildren regard you as a bit of a duffer, then get yourself a Google tattoo.

You’ll never get rid of it.

Drew McAdam


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