A few nights ago, I woke up at an ungodly hour and I could not go back to sleep. I decided to do an online search of a few people, including myself and a couple of people I saw during the day.
First of all, I looked up John Kirk, the special man in my life for nearly two decades. Oh yes, JK got a lot of hits, some 71,100,000 on Google, and there are some images too, as you can see from the screenshot right here. With 199 John Kirks within my search, there is a prominent explorer, a professional story teller and an English solider dated back nearly two hundred years.
Ha, this is interesting, I thought.
Then I narrowed down the search to the name and location, aka Birmingham, my husband’s Linked In profile and twitter account appeared on the first page, sharing it with another Mr John Kirk from University of Birmingham, on the other side of the city. I remember that John told me that he once went to a meeting at UoB and the woman queried his identity because she was expecting to see the other one.
With my married name, it was an easy straight forward one. It seems that there is only one Junying Kirk in cyber space. I guess a combination of my Chinese first name Junying, not an exceptionally common name, there is no other Junying with a surname of Kirk – There was a time when people were expecting to see a Captain Kirk look alike when I answered to Dr Kirk.
So there are fewer hits with my name but still a decent 68,600 results. Besides, all the images on Google are mine so there is no mistake of my on-line identity. The links on the first page are the most popular, my blog, My Linkedin, my Facebook, and of course, one of my professional profiles with Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research. While the majority of the hits are in English, there are a few in Chinese, which are related to the institutional visits I made to China and Taiwan. I was very pleased to see these partnership activities were being reported in a very positive light.
I also went to the Chinese search engine Baidu. Likewise, pages and pages of my name with links to Amazon, blogs, Twitter and so on appeared. I think I am less known in the Far East, as the number of results (4010) indicated :-).
Can I assume that I have achieved a certain level of fame? It certainly looks like that my postings are reaching out, from my Amazon books, to my weekly blogs. I can definitely say that I have a presence in cyber space, where more and more people are spending their time.
Out of curiosity, I searched a female acquaintance, someone who always assumed an air of self-importance and vanity. Is she as all mighty and famous as she let on? I wondered. She does possess a rather unusual name but the search resulted in nothing substantial. One or two mentions on a professional link, that’s it. No images on Facebook, Twitter or any other social media platforms. No list of publications in her name. In other words, she does not really exist or her existence in the vast cyber space is totally insignificant.
Where does she summon all that put-on superiority and a totally unjustified self-importance? One might wonder.
It makes me think of what John once told me: You are only famous among those who know you.
Outside this little circle of family and friends, what do you matter? Have you made any contribution to the Big Society which was all the rage a while ago? Have you made someone’s day, someone you’ve never set eyes on?
I am proud to say that I have made people laugh, and I have inspired people with my on-line posts, and I’ve been told so by people I may never meet in real life, but I count them as my friends in cyber space, be it on Facebook, Twitter, GoodReads, or people who came by my blog and had a laugh, or they read my books and had a cry.
I have touched people. I have left footprints on this earth. I have been in some strangers’ lives and somehow I have made an impression.
For me, that is something real, something to treasure. It is something I will take with me to eternity one day.