I learned quite recently that Google alerts exist, and I have the power to be alerted of anything I want. Naturally, I asked the Google to let me know if anyone mentioned me on the internet, and somehow I didn’t expect the existential match that Google would toss on the funeral pyre of my self esteem. You see, I, like you, am utterly insignificant.
Maybe you’re like me and you always worried you didn’t have any significant role in the world, but you still held an infinitesimal mote of hope that someone out there was talking about you. Let me tell you why your hope is stupid and you and I are nothing. To do that I’m going to vastly exaggerate your social importance. Let’s say you have 50 really close friends, the type of friends you visit every week, you attend social events together, some of you have rubbed your fun bits together, you’re close; you love each other. Now, imagine each of those friends has 50 other close friends completely outside the group of 50 you know; that’s 2500 people. You and your 50 friends are close enough that your buddies might even mention you to their other friends. Let’s assume that every one of your friends has mentioned you to every one of their friends. Suddenly, 2500 people know about you! Wowee, that’s a lot of people. You must be very important. Ha, no, you’re not even a footnote in the Big Book of People Who Matter a Little Bit. Of those 2500 people, how many do you think would tell a story about a friend’s friend: very few, and the ones that do probably will either get your name wrong or just take credit for the story themselves. Let’s round it off to an even 3000 people that know and talk about you.
Now, let’s do some light math. There are 7.4 billion people on Earth. Only 3000 people of those 7.4 billion know about you. Using the power of math, we find that approximately 0.00004054% of all people have heard of you. That means about 4 of every million people on Earth give a shit about you. To put that into a little more perspective, after wildly exaggerating the size of your social circle, if your friends and their friends were evenly distributed out into the world, there would still be around 60 countries populated entirely by people who wouldn’t be able to identify your body if they found it in their bed covered in used needles and fondant.
That’s what Google alerts reminded me when, after weeks, the only thing that it told me was that I had commented on my own blog and nobody had mentioned me anywhere on the entire internet. In summary, none of us matter, and that bastard Google knows it.