Although I’ve never been a sufficiently prolific (or even prominent) blogger, I did read those early articles about owning the URL of your actual name and wonder about buying www.davidnorman.com; however, even back then, my name had already been taken by a German-based illustrator/storyboarder (artists and designers were very quick to adopt the web as an excellent form of portfolio), so the option was eliminated before I could worry about it.
At the time, I thought it was an odd coincidence that there was someone else out there on the internet with my name, because I was under the misguided illusion that my name was quite rare: I had never met anyone else with the same name, and I grew up thinking it was unusual to have a name that was made of two forenames. However, the internet has now destroyed that simplistic notion and I have discovered that I’m fairly Google-proof because there are so many other David Normans in the world.
Wikipedia lists an Australian rules footballer, a businessman, an ornithologist (who has a website of his own, connected with the Merseyside Ringing Group), a Canadian soccer player, a palaeontologist, and a cricketer as David Normans worthy of having an entry; there is also an actor with very few entries on IMDb. Using Google to look for name-based websites, there is a landscape gardener, a painter, and a very tech-savvy pastor in the US who is also on Twitter.
Mentioning Twitter brings me to another point – David Norman the pastor has to use @david_norman because I must have got there first with @davidnorman, thus ensuring that there are a lot of David Normans out there who probably don’t like me because they had to find other variations for their Twitter account. In particular, I wonder about the David Norman mentioned in this article in the Guardian – I got a shock when I was reading the newspaper itself and there was a picture of a man I didn’t recognise with my name underneath it – who would seem to be a notable chap yet has to use @tcfdan, and he has many more followers than I do. He is one of many who have had to mix numbers and extra letters instead, including: @davenorman, @1DavidNorman, @DavidNorman1, @davidnorman2, @DavidNorman10, @DavidNorman13, @DavidJNorman, @davidknorman (among many others – there is a huge number if you search for David Norman). I have been very lucky: I even have my own name for my Gmail account (I have been on Blogger since 2002, so I got an invite to join Gmail the year after Google acquired Blogger); I have received many an email from people trying to contact their David Norman who have used my numberless address instead of the appropriate number/letter permutation.
Despite being an early adopter of Gmail and Twitter, and blogging irregularly for the past seven years, I am still hard to find using search engines, which is fine by me – I wouldn’t have called this blog Clandestine Critic if I weren’t comfortable with the concept of anonymity (although this blog is the first hit when searching for ‘clandestine critic’). No, I’m happy being one of many; nobody will be confusing me for anyone else because there are too many of us. I won’t have to regularly remind people the way Warren Ellis has to regularly do on Twitter:
Hello. I am the British writer Warren Ellis, not the Australian musician Warren Ellis who works with Nick Cave. Sorry about that. Bye.