Someone told me about Duck Duck Go awhile ago. It’s a kindly search engine that doesn’t save your personal information along with performing the search. This is unlike most (or all?) of the others. I depend on geeks, like i would on car mechanics and heart specialists, if i need relevant information about how to navigate the crazy interwebworld. Here, try this software, this add-on, configure this, let’s just change your settings…
It’s interesting, using Duck Duck Go. It works. You can find things. But with Duck duck Go, you have to work a little harder to find what you want in the massive databank of the internets. As a former google search user, it makes me feel like Google is the wind behind your back that you can’t feel. It makes choices, virtually adds search terms for you, in a way. It knows you. In a one-way kind of way. Like an invisible therapist.
Using a private search engine such as Duck duck Go has appeal, for some basic reasons. What if I look up skydiving, but when my BFF sees all the skydiving ads that Google thinks I want to see, sh/he faints from fear? Or because I’m interested in internments and violations of international law. Either way, its my business.
I recall learning about IRC in the early 1990s – and how you had a handle. Which was not necessarily, or even usually, your real actual name. It was CandyCane or JoeSmith or SunnyDay. In those early IRC days, i created a new persona – it was a non-me extension of myself. But I was young and immature and so was my alterego “leafthief”. I went onto poetry channels and heckled people. Sorry, IRC poets of the early ’90s.
Beyond IRC, as the internet started spreading through phone lines, the opportunities kept growing, to identify yourself…or disidentify yourself. Still, in the 1990s it was like a carnival – the internet wasn’t posing as reality. As technology developed, it started to tip in favour of being an extension of each individual. Email, web cams, smart phones.
Crazy to think about identity and how the internet distorts it. Nowadays so many people use a real name on the internet, real personal information, most folks just have it as just another part of this vacation we call life.