COLUMNS

DeWayne's World - What's on the Web about you?

DeWayne Bartels

I love the movie “The Devil’s Advocate,” and not just because my wife hates it. But, that helps.

 The ending is especially good when Al Pacino morphs from a reporter to the devil uttering, “Vanity, definitely my favorite sin.”

I mention this because I was recently introduced to “Google Alerts.”

It’s been around since 2004, but I’m a little slow to developing trends on the Web.

For the uninitiated, according to Google, “Google Alerts are e-mail updates of the latest relevant Google results based on your choice of query or topic.

“Some handy uses of Google Alerts include: monitoring a developing news story, keeping current on a competitor or industry, getting the latest on a celebrity or event and keeping tabs on your favorite sports teams,” the service says on its Web site.

I could use it to monitor say the words “North Peoria.” But, I don’t.

I could use it to monitor the words, “Jim Ardis.” But, I wouldn’t.

C’mon where is the mention of the most obvious use — monitoring the Web for stuff about good old No. 1?

I’ve got mine set to get alerts on my personal and work e-mail.

I chose the comprehensive feature that checks blogs, news sites, everything.  

And, I don’t want it delivered once a day.

I have the "as it happens" alert chosen — I want to know what people are posting about me like right now, man.

Don’t look down on me like I’m the only narcissist among us.

I’m not, according to a Google search of “narcissism and Goggle Alert.”

The age.com on Dec. 17, 2007, published a post stating, “More Americans are Googling themselves — and many are checking out their friends, co-workers and romantic interests, too.”

They found a Pew Internet and American Life Project that said 47 percent of U.S. adult Internet users have looked for information about themselves through Google or another search engine.

“That is more than twice the 22 percent of users who did in 2002, but Pew senior research specialist Mary Madden was surprised the growth wasn’t higher.”

I am, too.

About 60 percent of Internet users said they were unconcerned and uninterested about the extent of information about themselves online.

The Pew study found Americans under 50 and those with more education and income were more likely to self-Google.

That puts me in good company at least.

My guess is that those uninterested probably lead pretty boring lives.

When I Googled my name the first time, I found a lot of stuff, and the number keeps growing now that the Times-Observer has a Web site.

I found a lot of really boring stuff, like minutes from meetings I’d attended that listed my attendance.

There was some touching stuff, like the mention in the minutes from the Peoria City Council meeting right after my mother passed away. It noted Mayor Ardis requested prayers for my family.

I also found some really interesting stuff. There was one post back when the Nazi's were picking on me about how I am an asset to Peoria. Another wondered if I was on crack. I really liked that one. Another said I'm the best columnist in Peoria. I liked that one, too. It runs the gamut, and it's fun.

Go check yourself out on the Web. You know you want to.