Mallika Sherawat has fallen hook, line and sinker… for herself. The actress, who is active on Twitter, has confessed on the site that her latest addiction is Googling her own name. She types in the key words ‘mallika + sherawat + twitter’ on the search engine and lo, there appears all about Mallika, for Mallika.
If the Bollywood siren is addicted to news concerning herself, she is certainly not in a club of one. This habit is so widespread that Wikipedia actually has a name for it: ego surfing.
“I used to do it a lot when I was younger,” confesses author Anuja Chauhan. “But now I’m smarter and have made a Google alert in my name.” So each time there is news on Chauhan, the link automatically reaches her inbox. However, ego surfing can also be detrimental to the ego. “I work in advertising, and it depresses me when people write nasty things about my ads,” Chauhan sighs.
Musician Anoushka Shankar had a rather eerie experience last year when she sat down to ego surf in a Kolkata hotel. She found herself quoted in an article in a Delhi-based blog — what foxed her was that she had never communicated with the blogger. Anoushka ended up leaving an angry comment on that blog.
Theatre director Rudradeep Chakraborty is what you might call a controlled user of the drug called ego surfing. “I don’t Google myself daily,” he says, “but I do it at least twice a month.” Does that make him a little less self-absorbed personality? “Ego surfing is not only about the ego,” argues Chakraborty. “Rather than go through each newspaper, I get all the press clips on myself with a mouse click.” There are other benefits. “By going through catty comments of people on the Net, artists like us get that reality check.”
Chess champ Tania Sachdev is not an ego surfer — “When I’m online, I’m either on some chess ride or Facebooking with friends,” she says — but someone else does it for her. Her mom Googles Tania and keeps her informed on what websites are writing on her.
Dr Deepak Raheja, psychiatrist, Hope Foundation, explains the phenomenon of ego surfing: “It is narcissistic self-gratification. By reading their name again and again, they try satisfying their urge to recognise themselves as brand icons.”
Oh, now we got it, Mallika.