Searching for the Real Me

Search bar on virtual screen

Photo from Depositphotos.com

This week’s topic was one I proposed: If someone were to look at your internet search history, what conclusions might that person draw about you?

I viewed my browsing history recently, and it looks like most of my online time falls into one of these categories: 

Answers to Jeopardy questions that I didn’t hear because someone was making noise. As I mentioned last week, this is one of the few television shows I watch on a regular basis, and hubby knows I get irritated when he sneezes, grunts, or otherwise distracts me, but he just can’t seem to help it. So I often have to look up the answers that I missed.

News stories that I want more detail about. Again, this is often because someone was making noise or needing help when an interesting news story was on, or because the person controlling the remote decides he’d rather watch another episode of Cannonball  (his current favorite). Although sometimes I’ll see a headline in my news feeds that makes me want to learn more, OR I’ll see a news headline that sounds fishy and I want to fact-check it. 

Questions about stuff in my manuscript. Since my stories are mostly historical, I often look for resources to determine what could or could not have happened in my plot.  Examples from my current WIP would be how much certain items cost in 1865, what people ate, and whether or not certain phrases were in use. I also look for names that were popular during that time and location, details about events that took place during that time, and maps to find out how far certain cities are from each other, to determine how long it might take a character to travel from one place to another. And since my story revolves around two people who’ve taken a train to get where they are, I had to research railroad lines that existed then.

Pictures for promo. We have to be careful to use images that are available for public use, or those that we’ve paid for. I have accounts at two different stock photo companies that I use to create memes and other promotional tools in addition to this blog. But it often takes a long time to find just the right photo. Recently, I tried to find a picture of ice cubes in a ziplock bag, because that’s part of the book snippet I wanted to illustrate. Unfortunately, after searching through hundreds of pictures of ice in various forms (icebergs, ice cream, ice skating, etc) on both sites, I gave up on that idea and settled for a photo of a pile of melting ice cubes.

Synonyms. When I’m writing, I often know what I want to say, but I can’t quite come up with a good word to express it. Fortunately, it’s easy to find an online thesaurus to help me. 

Random stuff that nobody else cares about. I’ve always been curious, and as I’ve mentioned here, my interests are wide, and my attention span is short. Every now and then a question will pop into my head out of nowhere and I can’t do anything else until I find the answer to my question.

Conclusion: I guess if someone (who’s not an author) were to look at all the sites I’ve visited lately, that person might deduce that I’m an uninformed, sheltered person with no focus who never goes anywhere and doesn’t know how to express herself.

About Patricia Kiyono

During her first career, Patricia Kiyono taught elementary music, computer classes, elementary classrooms, and junior high social studies. She now teaches music education at the university level. She lives in southwest Michigan with her husband, not far from her five children, nine grandchildren (so far), and great-granddaughters. Current interests, aside from writing, include sewing, crocheting, scrapbooking, and music. A love of travel and an interest in faraway people inspires her to create stories about different cultures. Check out her sweet historical contemporary romances at her Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/Patricia-Kiyono/e/B0067PSM5C/
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19 Responses to Searching for the Real Me

  1. Oh my, my history would lead people to think I had a screw loose in my head, because I do research the weirdest things for my novels, such as ‘what is the fastest-acting anaesthetic’, ‘heroin withdrawals’, and ‘where can you get stabbed without dying’.

    I also get random questions like you, and it’s a terrible itch that needs scratching. Like just now, for some reason, I wanted to know how dust forms because it’s been a while since I wiped my study table.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Patricia Kiyono says:

      Ha! How dust forms is something I hadn’t thought of – until now. I’ll be looking that up soon! Thanks for stopping in, Stuart.

      Like

  2. This is a very interesting question, Patty! I am afraid to stop and think about MY search history; it’s pretty eclectic for several reasons.
    As for missed answers to Jeopardy questions and others, they bother me until I find out, as well. I will have to sit down later and put what happens here down for Friday.

    Like

  3. Jeff Salter says:

    Except for the Jeopardy-related sentences, this is another example of your blog text being so close to what I may compose (later this week) that I could almost copy and paste it to mine.
    I had forgotten this topic was coming up, so I’ll have a lot to think about between now and Hound Day.

    Like

  4. Patricia, my internet search history is more like Stuart’s above while doing research for my novels because I write romantic suspense and mystery. However, the medical questions are mostly dealt with through my network of friends in that field. But at times, one would think I was planning the perfect crime. LOL

    Liked by 2 people

    • Patricia Kiyono says:

      I can imagine mystery/suspense authors have quite a scary trail of internet searches that would make investigators take a second look! I often consult with nurse/doctor friends for medical questions too – often because I need answers to something specific that would take me a long time to find. Thanks for chiming in!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Diane Burton says:

    My internet history is pretty boring. No searches for poisons or bomb-making. My Pinterest boards would be more interesting.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Patricia Kiyono says:

      Having read your mysteries, that really surprises me, Diane! How do you come up with the interesting ways your villains operate?

      Like

  6. When I was writing TARGETED, I had nightmares about the FBI showing up at my door because my search history included lots of sites about dirty bombs and Muslim clothing/culture. WANTED had someone hacking into a nuclear power plant’s control system. Lots of research and a real-life visit (plenty of security cameras) to an actual decommissioning nuclear power plant–more FBI nightmares. You get the idea.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. My most recent searches have been about smuggling spirits, Highland military units, and the Corn Riots!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Patricia Kiyono says:

      Sounds fascinating! I enjoy learning about history. Your books make wonderful use of your research. Thanks for weighing in!

      Like

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