Reader Request Week 2015 #2: Ego Searching Redux
Susan asks (and I’m including appropriate links):
You gave up ego-searching for Lent, and right after lent ended put up a post that you found you hadn’t missed it that much and though you had been doing it out of habit (I’m paraphrasing that post).
Is that still true? Have you resumed ego searching or do you only respond if directly contacted (ie, @scalzi on twitter, tagged on facebook, etc).
Do you think this has impacted your response to the Hugo/Puppy kerfluffle?
Indeed, since Easter I have not done any substantial ego surfing; I think I’ve done it three times. I used to have shortcuts to ego surfing on my bookmarks, and I had some Google alerts tied into my name, but I deleted those during Lent and have not been moved to return them. I also took out the “Scalzi” search on Twitter as one of my Tweetdeck columns and haven’t returned that either. The closest I come to ego searching now is periodically checking my WordPress stats and seeing where people are coming in from, and getting a daily email report from ThinkUp. But neither of those are particularly granular, in terms of specific people saying things about me.
I’m surprised how little I miss it. I’m very much of an “I want ALL THE DATA” sort of person, and also, I was previously jazzed at the idea that someone somewhere online was always talking about me. But I think over time I either got a little bit more secure in my ego, or I just simply stopped caring what other people had to say about me, either negatively or positively. I don’t mean that in a hostile who cares what the peons think sort of way; more that I have enough things to be thinking about on a day to day basis without having to know what some other person was thinking about what I was thinking, especially if I didn’t know them or have an interest in them one way or another.
Also, at a certain point for someone in my position you really do have to accept that people are going to talk about you, and that you don’t need to be part of that discussion. Previously I was generally happy to lurk on those discussions, but now I don’t even have the interest to lurk. It takes time and it takes brain cycles and I have increasingly less free time/cycles to devote to it. I’d rather spend that time/cycles on people I actually like and love, or on activities I enjoy doing.
With regard to Puppies/Hugos, it’s also probably better than I don’t spend a lot of time ego surfing. I mean, I’ve been visiting File770 daily for updates (seriously, if the site doesn’t get a Hugo nod — a legitimate, non-slate nod — for keeping up with it all, I don’t know what the Fanzine category is good for). In the recaps and comments there I see enough nonsense with my name appended to it, from basically the same few jerks, that I know ego searching my name will just reveal the same jerks plus a couple others stinking up the results. As the saying goes, ain’t nobody got time for that, and I honestly just don’t care.
At this point I assume if there’s something particularly juicy involving me, someone will let me know, and indeed that’s pretty much how it’s gone. News does get back to me. And if it doesn’t get back to me, it doesn’t much appear that I need to know it and I will get along fine without knowing. This is my new reality, when it comes to knowing what people are saying about me online, and I have to say I find it pretty congenial.
(There’s still time to ask questions for 2015’s Reader Request Week — get your requests in here.)