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A Brian By Any Other Name

   September 3rd, 2009

Did you read recently about MIT's Personas tool, that visualizes what the internet knows about you? The profile for my name looks like this (click for bigger):

Brian Herzog's Profile

Interesting, but what does it mean? I'm not quite sure. Especially when I realized it grouped all Brian Herzogs together.

Which reminded me there's more than one Brian Herzog out there. Of course, there's lots of us on MySpace, Facebook and LinkedIn (but not me on the first two), and I'm following all the Brian Herzogs on Twitter, just to see what I was up to.

Occasionally I look myself up on WhitePages to remember past addresses I've had, and recently (?) they added a neat national name distribution map, to show where I am most densely populated (I'm the only me in MA). ZabaSearch links to a compilation of my past addresses - well, some of them, and some listed weren't mine (I know this is their business, but I was surprised to see it - it must come from Post Office Change Of Address forms?).

In the spirit of Me or Not Me?, I started pulling together all of the Me Brian Herzog information out there at herzogbr.net. Also, here's a few Not Me Brian Herzogs:

And finally, here's a few other name-related/internet-profile bits and bobs:

Give it a try - find out how much can be found about you and not yous.




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7 Responses to “A Brian By Any Other Name”

  1. Sarah Says:

    In the UK years ago, I saw a book similar to Angela Shelton’s, in which the author met more than a hundred people sharing his name. Unfortunately all I remember is I think his first name started with a J.

    There were 3 of me in my high school district (I was once in a large choir with all three of us, plus a college student of the same name), and about 200 total in the state. If I add my middle initial, it drops down to 40; most of them are Sarah Jane.

    At work, the default email address is firstname.lastname, with things like middle initials or trailing numbers added as necessary. I get some fascinating misdirected email because of that; today’s was about the transfer of some weapons from one Army unit to another.

    And now, according to howmanyofme.com, there are 2,206 of us. I will not be writing a memoir about meeting us all.

  2. Chris Says:

    Only one of me according to that last link. w00t.

  3. Jessica Says:

    This reminds me of a Kurt Vonnegut book I read about a year ago in which he said that whenever he traveled he would look up Vonnegut in the local phone book, call the person up and make a dinner date, figuring they were probably distantly related. So cool.

    Also cool–I am the only me in the US according to the White Pages and How Many of Me.

  4. Susan K Says:

    There are two people with my name in my metro area, and the widgit said I was the only one in the USA with that name. It needs work but it was fun to see the general data on the different parts of the name.

  5. Browny Says:

    Great article! Thanks for the info. :)

  6. ursula Says:

    I think you are all wonderful! I really enjoy these blog sites and hope that the discussion of opinions will continue to help improve our world on an international level.

  7. What The Internet Knows About [Brian Herzog] | Get Tech Info Says:

    […] by personas.media.mit.edu/, this is a visualization of what the internet knows about Brian Herzog. Read more on my website. Related PostsHow many people are going to ask about getting passed internet security and […]