A vanity search may be more commonly known as ego surfing. This is a term that may have been coined by Internet mogul, Sean Carton. When you vanity search, you are essentially using a search engine to look up yourself. Other names for this practice include self-googling, googling yourself, ego searching or autogoogling. These names reference the common practice of using Google to perform this search.
If you’re new to the Internet, it can be interesting to vanity search, to see if anyone knows who you are. Of course, what you may see at first is a lot of people who have the same name as you. Once you start to blog, post, or put information up on places like Facebook, a vanity search may reveal more pages that refer to you.
Sometimes the term is used derogatively to describe those people who are obsessed with seeing their names pull up on a search engine. If your name ends up with thousands of results, it can be a boost to ego, hence the term ego surfing. It can raise your self-esteem when other people write about you, cite your work, or give links to your work.
Another reason why some people vanity search is to find out if people are reporting untrue things about them, or saying unkind things. This may most be applicable to people who are well known, either for some reason in the Internet community or offline in some celebrity fashion. When hurtful things are written about a person, or moreover inaccurate things, it may be possible to change this by commenting on someone’s website. You can correct false reports though you may not be able to do much about vicious attacks that are opinion based.
A great number of people may occasionally vanity search just for the fun of it. It’s generally a harmless activity. Given the vast information available online, searching your own name and coming up with results that have nothing to do with you may be a check to vanity rather than encouraging it.