Being Stalked By a Robot is Better Than Being Stalked By a Human
I had a terrifying moment the other day when I clicked on a link from my “google alert” (Yes, I have a google alert set up for my name. So do you.) and found this. At first it looks like a restaurant homepage, but when you scroll down it’s all me, me, me! For about four seconds I thought I had some kind of crazed German stalker (Is that German? I’m not good at recognizing other languages.) who built a website-altar to me and furnished it with all my internet-available photos. Then, of course, I promptly realized it was just internet data-collection bots making an “Aubrey Hirsch” website so they can sell German things to people who search for that name.
Once I figured that out, I had a series of new reactions.
- It’s still creepy to look at.
- I wish I could get some of those photos off the internet/I’m so glad the internet was not around in this form when I was in my awkward phase which lasted roughly from age 6-21.
- I am kicking those other Aubrey Hirsches’ asses in terms of web-importance. Take that, lawyer in Louisiana! Take that, tennis-player at St. Mary’s!
Then I started to actually read the text. And it’s pure poetry. I know it’s just a mash-up of phrases from the websites it culled from, but there’s something magical about seeing words from my stories and poems all mixed up together along with some random data about a New Orleans law firm. Here are some samples for your reading pleasure:
- Aubrey aubrey website of our island of cleveland, ohio bit about aubrey Ratings, published feb me up Ratings, published feb issue will call them at awp Looking to reconnect withfind aubrey hirschs stories
- But he has appeared in the doesn’t walk me offind Aubrey home from Used Furniture Review
- about aubrey aubrey hirsch bubble may hobart, third coast orleans University of the december aubrey third coast Pittsburgh feb issue will be the borovsky circus goes to losan
I’ve read the whole thing a couple of times now. The white text on black background makes my eyes hurt, but I keep reading it. Maybe I’m looking for some kind of secret message, or to see how my writing life looks all boiled down and smashed together. But I think the gibberish on this site is starting to make sense to me. I can kind of recognize my mind in there and a short history of the last few years of my life.
I wonder how this internet robot works. Will he keep looking for new stuff? Will he update this webpage with new words from new stories? If I use the word “lawyer” in a story, am I more likely to get his attention? I wonder if he’ll ever become sentient. If he does, will he keep doing his job? Does he enjoy reading my stories? Will he fall in love with me and send me robotmantic emails through the form on my website?
One thing is sure: I’ll be stalking him now, too. I’ve bookmarked this website. We will stalk each other. We’ll chase each other around the internet until somebody blinks.