Writer, photographer, "rapper" and general technophobe takes on the internet in what could be a very, very messy fight. But it's alright: she's harder than she looks, and she's wearing every single ring she could get her hands on.


Sunday, 15 March 2009

Learning not to Google yourself

"If there's one thing you can take out of this experience," my best friend commented a couple of days ago, "it's that when you Google your name, it no longer brings up three pages about compost."

It's certainly true that working for a PR agency gives you a strange online presence. I am, because I had to be, a veritable font of nitrogen/carbon rich knowledge, but I've never been sure that rotten roses* is what I want the world to remember me by. And now it's not. Hurrah.

Saying that, compost is still better than seeing what some other people have written about me in various blogs/forums. I was just reading, with interest, a football post about the pros and cons of getting sunburnt for six months, when I stumbled inadvertently across the line 'Miss Holly looks unbearably smug in her photo, which rules her out of my vote'. It actually took me a couple of seconds to work out who 'Miss Holly' was (the only person to call me that, I believe, was the dinner lady when I was 6, and that was because I hadn't finished my carton of milk). However, when I finally had worked out that it was me in trouble again, it's strange how upset it made me.

"Smug?" I want to shout at Troythegreat from Norfolk: "SMUG? About what? It wasn't taken after the candidates were announced, you plonker. Perhaps the word you were looking for was drunk?"

But I can't, because it's freedom of speech. Troythegreat-whose-real-name-is-probably-Barry is perfectly allowed to think I'm smug. And people are allowed to comment on whether they think I'm less attractive than Sarah Louise (I am, in fairness), or on my clothes (terrible), or on my 'English speaking skills' (7 out of 10, apparently). They can comment on whether they think I'm plummy, or stuck up, or self-satisfied, and there isn't the slightest thing I can do about it. I can hardly stand up and shout "I'm unemployed, single and living with my father: what the hell have I got to be smug or satisfied about?"

And - if I did - you can guarantee I'd be told off for whining.

I've never been very good at taking criticism. Few people are. I cried a few days ago because my dad inferred that "if i was going to get into a bikini for this thing, he suggested going for a few runs first". (And then the BBC director tried to pacify me with, "it's okay, they don't want a waif. They want someone... erm, strong." "I'm not strong," I reassured her: "I'm just a bit fat.")

But there it is: criticism all over the place. I live in fear of picking up a paper and seeing: Holly's dad is right: she needs to start jogging.

So, I think I've finally learnt my lesson. If you can't handle negative comments, don't look for them. I won't be Googling myself again. I won't be reading forums that blindly attack me for getting somewhere I never thought I would get. And I won't get upset because I'm the 'least attractive British candidate' (thanks, Paul78).

As for compost... I might just have to start writing about that again and sticking it up online. It's a distinctly uncontroversial topic, unless you're a little old lady at Gardener's World and you are livid that the fruit flies just will not leave your bin alone. And even then you're not safe. Last time I tried to offer advice on that topic, the afore mentioned little old lady grabbed her free banana and told me "what would you know? You're a chit of a lass: you wouldn't know a compost bin if it jumped up and bit you on the bottom."


I guess at least online I'm not at risk of being beaten with a walking stick.

*Not allowed to refer to compost as 'rotting': it has the wrong connotations, apparently. Sod it. It's my Blog, and I don't work for compost anymore. It's rotting. It is rotting. Call a mouldy apple a mouldy apple, for Christ's sake.