What's up with someone who can't be found online in any way, shape fashion or form?

There are two or three people I knew in high school or college I’ve been interested in looking up, but if the intertubes are any guide they’ve utterly disappeared from the face of the earth in the past twenty years or so. I’ve even done obituary searches, so it wouldn’t seem that they’re dead. As unavoidable as it seems these days to leave digital traces of oneself, you ever wonder what’s up with people like that?

I run a website for which I use my real name, otherwise I wouldn’t be findable either. Lots of wacky usernames, all with fake personal details.

Gone overseas, dont have any interest in the internet, name change, live in the country, lots of possibilities.


20% of the American population does not use the Internet : PEW Apr 2012 ( http://pewinternet.org/Reports/2012/Digital-differences/Overview.aspx )

In my area, I’d say that at least 20% of my peer-age neighbors have never been on the Internet and have no interest in it.

Really it’s smart to not use your real name on the Internet, so either they don’t use the internet or they use it wisely. Have you checked whitepages.com? They seem to get landline telephone records.

My whole family seems to be staying incognito. None of my brothers appear to be using anything like Facebook, and none of us come up on any of the first 200 results of a Google search.

One brother is a high school teacher, the other is a medical device engineer, and I’m in IT, so it’s not like we don’t use the internet. We just don’t leave any tracks.

I can’t find myself on the Internet. I could use one of the pay sites to get my info like we have at work but other than that nothing. My first name/last name combo is rare enough that I haven’t met anyone with my exact name but common enough online. And there are a couple of not famous but well published people with my name. Google does not like me.

I’m actually surprised to hear that, because most teachers I know show up early in a google search because of school directories, newsletters, little news stories about science fairs and track results.

Make the honor roll or the dean’s list, name on the Internet.

Get arrested, name on the Internet.

Buy a house, name on the Internet.

Uncle dies, name on the Internet.

It’s just not a matter of choosing to participate in social media or not.

What is meant by being found online?

I find people all the time using USA People Search and similar sites. If you have a credit report or some such, they’ll know about you. Dead people sometimes continue to be listed for several years. Recent name changes are also tracked.

Some of these people would not have an online presence in the sense of a Facebook account or such.

Sometimes it’s tricky. I was looking for an ex-relative of a relative. Turns out the first name I had wasn’t the one they had been using for quite some time. So a lot of broad searching followed by filtering by other info.

My mother has a vision disability and isn’t online in any way at all. If she “needs” an email address for something, I fill it out for her using one of my accounts. She also only uses a cell phone, so she’s not appearing in any online (or paper for that matter) directories. She’s older but not “old;” there plenty of people her age on Facebook, etc.

I pay a service to remove my real name from those pay for public record sites or deal with them on my own to get removed. First thing a jury does after a day in court is Google the lawyers. Other professionals do this too.

But, the most common reasons are likely addressed above.

My neighbor was a non-internet person, age @40 with an unusually spelled name. She’d had 30 court cases over the last 12 years (at least 1/3rd criminal), was involved in a house high-jacking event that got big coverage (for this area) and recently was killed in an unusual style accident that was also covered along with the obituary.

You’d be hard pressed to get a Google result for her unless you narrowed the search to the local newspaper web site. In another six months, that won’t have Google results either because archived stories are pay-per-view only and don’t show up in Google.

Ugh, creepy, I just went on there and put my name and they have me, and my mother and father’s full names and their ages. My mother’s dead, so they are not exactly 100% accurate. Creepy nonetheless.

One of them undoubtedly about a thinks-he-is-cleverer-than-he-really-is rogue living in the far (magical) future where the sun is about to wink off in the sky, am I right?

I had a fairly clean record considering I have 16 years of constant use but lately people have posted on blogs using my performance stage name linked to my actual name. It kinda grinds my gears, I wouldn’t have come up with a stage name if I wanted my real name tied to it. It doesn’t help that as far as I can tell no one else on earth shares my name.

I recently (about 2 years ago) re-connected with a college-era friend that I hadn’t been able to find for the last 15 years or so. I did the usual searching, but the most recent hits I could find were from 15-some years ago, and he seemed to have disappeared from the face of the earth. From what I had known of his habits, I suspected strongly that the had probably died of AIDS.

Here’s how I found him: Those hits from 15-some years ago included some technical articles he had published, with co-authors. So I hunted up those co-authors and sent e-mails to 2 of them. Sure enough, one knew of my friend’s current place, and forwarded my e-mail to him.

(And, as a matter of fact, it turns out he has been living with AIDS for some time now.)

They think I’m 42, 45 or 29, and that my mother still uses her previous married name.

These are the smart people.

They’re not. There’s a whole world out there that has nothing to do with the internet. There are huge areas of my own life that aren’t documented online.

Maybe you shoulda known more interesting people in high school.