A surreal Google Alert

I have been using Google Alerts to keep tabs on my various projects for a couple years now. Mostly it just tells me when splogs scrape my content, but every once in a while it has proven quite useful in alerting me to a cool linkback or someone talking about one of my sites.

As an exercise in vanity and to assure I’m not the last to know of someone trashing me in the Intertubes, I setup a Google Alert with my name a while back, and set it to send me a daily summary of content that contains “Ryan Mclaughlin”. Due to it being a pretty common name, I’ve used filters to cut down on the number of random mentions of other people. However, one that made it through this morning gave me pause:

That’s not just my first and last names, but my middle name as well. What’s more, that Ryan McLaughlin’s father is also named Michael (from whom we both, no doubt, received our middle names). I have to admit, it’s a bit surreal seeing your full name inline with the word obituary.

The obituary is, obviously, for a different Ryan Michael McLaughlin, who passed away from cystic fibrosis the other day. My heart goes out to his family.

Ryan Michael McLaughlin of Spokane passed away from cystic fibrosis on February 14, 2011 with his family by his side, he was 29. Ryan was born September 8, 1981 in Portland, Oregon to Michael and Rae Ann (Roach) McLaughlin, the second of three children.

Ryan is remembered by his many friends and family for his vivaciousness and love of life that defied the very illness he always knew could take him too early. His quick wit and famous one-liners will linger in their memories long after he is gone. His lifelong love of the outdoors, inspired by his father, gave him a love of fishing and camping. Ryan was passionate about life which he expressed through his tattoos.

5 Responses

    • I’ve actually had a couple obits come my way via Google Alerts, but always for “McLaughlin” and then there’ll be a son or grandson named “Ryan”. That it was my full name, bit freaky.

      I could see “Mark Evans” being common, but “Englehart”?

      • True. I started using my middle name a few years ago just so i could own *some* sort of SEO. There’s a canadian tech writer that got every ‘markevans’ account before I did. The SEO belongs to him & the bassist from AC/DC. And about 70 realtors from wales.

        • I feel your pain. I believe there are two other web-designing Ryan McLaughlin’s that hit the front page of Google for the name. It’s one of the litany of reasons I recently retired “the humanaught” moniker and have started using my name domain. I also grabbed “ryanmmclaughlin.com” right after posting my last comment.

          I think middle initials, and full middle names, have started to play a larger role in our heavily globalized world. And unlike “somecooldomain.com” that might re-enter the domain pool after trends change, a name domain could potentially sit with someone for the rest of their lives — which will make such domains tougher and tougher to get. This is why, despite it being a bit tacky, I’ve registered casey-mclaughlin.com for my son. I couldn’t get caseymclaughlin.com, but for the $9/yr. I wanted to assure he’d have a domain one day.

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