Hannah Margaret Weirens
My name is Hannah Weirens (she/hers) and I am 21 years old. I was born in Tokyo and moved to New York when I was 3 years old. My dad lives in London, so I spend some time there as well. I am currently a Junior at the University of Michigan and am majoring in History and minoring in Entrepreneurship. In my free time I love to cook, listen to music, and exercise!
The Google Search of it All
Googling my name is a fairly simple process. There does not seem to be another "Hannah Weirens," or if there is then I am glad I am more famous than her. Although there is a decent amount of relevant search results after Googling my name, a majority of it is content curated by me. As such, the internet has a very specific view of me as I am the one choosing the version of myself that I want to make public to the world via the internet. Specifically, it is the “highlights” of my life, not the everyday, boring stuff that would not make it onto my social media profiles.
My Social Media Profiles
The first few Google search results are of my social media profiles, such as LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter. First off, these profiles are completely curated by me. I get to decide what I post or what I don’t post, and for Twitter and Instagram, I am able to decide not only what I post, but I also have the option to make my profile private, and allow only the users I review and accept to follow me and view my curated content. My LinkedIn, the only social media platform that I frequently use that is public, has my academic history and my work experience. Anyone who searches or even stumbles upon my profile as a mutual connection on LinkedIn, would see that I am a History major and Entrepreneurship minor at the University of Michigan and interning at Williams Sonoma Inc. during the Summer of 2021. As such, people may get a put-together and serious impression of me as my LinkedIn would be their major source of information about me through their Google search.
Other Search Results
The other major Google search results involve my field hockey career in high school and other achievements of mine. For the Google Images results, a lot of the images are of me playing field hockey during my high school games posted by local Westchester NY sports journalists. I was the captain of my high school’s (Bronxville High School) Varsity Field Hockey team, and we were able to go to the state championships as well as regional and sectional championships, so it makes sense that there would be a lot of content from that time of my life.
Some academic highlights from my life that came up in the Google search include the MDriven website due to me being a member of MDriven (a University of Michigan Finance and Entrepreneurship Club) and an article about me going to a gender-based violence conference in Washington, D.C. when I was a junior in high school.
What Did the Internet Get Right?
Google got basically everything right about me. A lot of the search results were things that I directly posted on the internet, like my social media profile/content, as well as things like my Depop page (clothes selling site) and Pinterest page, so those sources were hard for Google to get wrong since I was the one directly supplying the content for them. The Google Images section had a lot of accurate photos of me that I did not post myself, for example photos from me playing in field hockey games and a photo of me and a peer from the article about me attending a conference in Washington D.C.
Since I am a frequent social media user, the fact that my profiles/content came to the forefront of the Google search results is very appropriate. The overall portrayal of me from Googling my name does a fairly good job of capturing who “Hannah Weirens” is: my age, my schooling, my work, what I look like, and some of the things I like to do.
What Did the Internet Get Wrong?
The internet’s portrayal of me captured the main aspects of my life. Although a lot of the major aspects of my life are able to be found through a Google search, a lot of the minor and less “important” aspects of my life are not. The pictures of me in the images section of Google are the “good” pictures that I decided to make public; there aren’t any pictures of me without makeup or without my hair done (besides the field hockey pictures, in which you can’t really see my face and at that point my face is not the main subject of those sport images).
One thing that I saw that was completely false information about me is from my NY MileSplit (a track and field records website) profile from high school. It states that my personal record for the outdoor 400 Meter Dash is 1:12.14, but I never ran outdoor track (only indoor) and also never ran the 400 Meter Dash in any track competition. My high school had a very large track team, so perhaps they mixed me up for someone else on my team or someone from another high school with a similar name/bib number.
Additionally, the Google Images search results include pictures of people that I am connected with on LinkedIn, but are definitely not me. If someone Googles me and knows what I look like it won’t really matter, but if someone is Googling me to try to find out what I look like, it might confuse them.
I am a relatively open person, so having a decent amount of results come up when you Google my name does not make me uncomfortable at all, especially when a lot of the results are the profiles I personally curated. The information I have on my LinkedIn profile are all things I am perfectly fine with the general public knowing about me and that is why I have posted it.
On the other hand, the NY MileSplit error that shows up under my profile is frustrating. I doubt many people would check that if they were to Google me, but having false information about my personal record for anyone to see is not ideal. I am perfectly fine with the general public seeing my actual personal records for the events I did run in.
Additionally, some of the field hockey action shots from Google Images of me are quite unflattering. I am in a full-on sprint while being hunched over dribbling the field hockey ball with a chunky mouthguard in and unattractive goggles on. Even though these pictures are not my prettiest moment, I do like that they come up in my Google search results as I playing field hockey was a big part of my high school career and something I am proud of.
If having a false statistic of running a slower 400 meter race or some unattractive sports action shots makes me unsettled, then I cannot imagine being a public figure and having false information being said/printed about me every single day. I always used to think I would love to be a celebrity, but it's moments like this in which I realize how thankful I am for the privacy that I have. I can more or less choose what I decide to put onto the internet, whereas celebrities constantly have paparazzi capturing them at their worst moments or the tabloids spreading rumors about them.
In a world where all of our public and private information can be consolidated in a simple Google search, do we really know everything about each other? Or just the version of us that the public wants to see?
There is still a lot left someone would need to learn about me after completing a Google search in order to truly know “Hannah Weirens.” Even though they may have a lot of the major points about me out of the way through Googling my name and sifting through the results, there are endless parts of a person that make up who they are. Someone who decides to Google search my name wouldn’t be able to find out that my favorite food is pasta and cookies, I love to make secret Spotify playlists, my favorite show is “Sex & the City” and countless other facts about me.
Instead of relying on Google or more broadly the internet to learn about each other, let’s strive to have conversations to find out the “real” versions of each other.