Sunday, June 24, 2007

Ian Thal and the Doppelgängers

I used to look myself up on Google until I learned how to have Google do the work for me. This past May, I was surprised to find that the website had created a profile based on my profile at along with links to some of my friends there, and URLs for other pages I operate. I decided that the best thing to do would be to claim my profile and establish myself before somebody else did and caused mischief. Interestingly enough, I found multiple profiles for some of my friends, especially ones I know from LambdaMOO, who tend to be early adopters of internet techologies.

One nice thing about is that it serves as a means for linking one's various networking sites and blogs onto a single page and since it crosses networks, one can have a flickr persona listed as a friend of a persona. However, I have to confess that ex.plode as of this writing does not have a lot of utility yet and the documentation is so slim compared to that on tribe, Blogger, MySpace, or technorati that I had to largely rely on trial-and-error (I even had to debug one of their widgets with my limited html skills.)

This led me to wonder: How many Ian Thals are there on the internet that I do not know about, or have simply forgotten about? I found a few abandoned webpages with which I had once tried to promote my art but I also discovered a previously unknown "Elven lord Ianthal Serevemon" who is apparently a character in somebody's fantasy role-playing game, and while I first went by the nick-name of "Ianderthal" at the age of thirteen, and and even used it as an online handle for several years (though it only remains as the name of my yahoogroup) and while most Ianderthals I found were in fact, my own past selves dating from 1999 to 2001, I was to find "a 19 year-old guy from West Bloomfield, Michigan, USA" using the same moniker , another studying in Middletown, Connecticut, another who is the guitar player for a band called Too Hectic and yet another (perhaps the same) Ianderthal, who is a contributor to Urban Dictionary. There were yet other Ianderthals whose identity I could not even begin to fathom, I suspect that at least one was an anime character.

As my last name is so uncommon that anyone who posesses it is quite likely a relative, I had never before had the experience of discovering a doppelgänger in the same manner that a "John Smith" might. Curioser and curioser.


Ian Thal said...

Since posting this short bit, I've come upon an a blog entry by Michael K. Pate on, but also which like operates as a cross-network network, but with a greater focus on the individual than on the social network. The interface is far more slick and the wink widget has far greater utility on websites where it works (but I have had problems getting it to work everywhere.)

Ian Thal said...

Apparently, as a result of complaints by some users. is now blocked from accessing data from tribe. Which means now has even less utility than it did before.