What is my digital identity? What will people find when they google me? What does it mean to have a digital identity?

I just did googled myself–which, I admit, I have done many times.  I have found a few odd things from time to time, such a review of my first novel, The Wild Boy, on a website about feral children.  Hmm… Anyway, when I googled myself for this blog I went through about 9 or 10 Google screens and made a list of the sites and references that popped up (I wanted to write allusions but that isn’t quite the same thing) from warrenrochelle.com (this site) to the most recent, a Blue and Gray Press article about the memorial reading of Claudia Emerson’s poetry that the Department of English, Linguistics, and Communication did in January and which I hosted.

The list is comprehensive.

What does it say about me? If someone were to just read through the list, what would they learn about me?

If this reader read through the main page of this site, and I think I would start there, then they would get a sense of my adult life, from BA at UNC Chapel to Hill to teaching at UMW. That I grew up in North Carolina is foregrounded and this lets them begin to place me culturally, or subculturally. They would also learn that I write fiction and that this blog is not updated as often as it should be.

Note to self: update!

As the reader browsed down this list, they would quickly find out that:

I have a Twitter account, and I write fantasy and sometimes science fiction, and I am a teacher and a reader.

They can buy my books via Amazon (please!).

My first novel, The Wild Boy, has a Wikipedia article about it and I had nothing to do this, I swear.

Reviews of The Wild Boy and the other two novels, Harvest of Changelings and The Called, are available for their reading pleasure (buy these books, too!). The local library says I am a local author–true.

I am  a Virginia employee and my salary is public record.

In December 2014, I wrote a review of Familiars, by Fred Chappell. But the reader wouldn’t know that Fred was one of my mentors at UNC Greensboro. Should they?

I’ve been interviewed about my fiction and videoed about my teaching. I’ve studied Ursula K. Le Guin. I’m gay.

Google isn’t the only way to find out all these things, all these parts of my digital self, but then, this is probably easier: here everything is in one list.

The list is comprehensive, but still pertinent details are missing. It is incomplete, and I think it should be, even though the boundaries between what is private and public is pretty blurred these days.  What goes up stays up forever.

There you have it.

Leave a Reply