Some years ago I became OBSESSED with Googling myself, it is part of my completely narcissistic and neurotic ways. Back in the mid 90’s, I would take comfort in knowing that I had the top ranking on Google, if you searched my name, I would come up first or second. You would find an article in the University of Illinois newspaper, the Daily Illini, where I was interviewed as the PR Director of the Undergraduate Student Government regarding the Halloween student riots at SIU in ’94. You would also find my race times for the various 5Ks and other running races I had participated in, you would find my connection to the City of Chicago, charities and boards I served.
In the mid 90’s, you would also find ONE other Leyla Arsan, some woman who liked to hike on the West Coast. She was not a great threat to me, she simply climbed some silly Mountain on some peninsula some where on the West Coast. Even at that time, I thought, “wow, that’s pretty interesting, I have never climbed anything or hiked anything significant enough to make the web”. I once para-glided off the Swiss Alps but it never made the pages of anything.
A few years ago, another Leyla Arsan emerged, Leyla Arsan, a professor at Ege University who also happens to be a photographer. The professor Leyla Arsan started to threaten my standing on Google, she had multiple published items and it was starting to hurt my Google ranking. The professor was making me look bad and I feared that she was far more interesting than I. She was more educated; I hold a Masters in Arts Management, not a PhD. I had not published anything like she had, nor had I won any significant awards like she. This Leyla Arsan, the Professor at Ege University in Turkey, was starting to hurt my ego a little, so I tried to contact this Leyla Arsan - but no response. In retalliation, I also tried to get published with the hopes of getting back on top...but no luck.
Around the turn of the Century, another Leyla Arsan followed. Leyla Arsan who owns Tages, a European Funds and Innovation business – I don’t even know what that means! She now completely RULES the Google rankings when you search “Leyla Arsan”. I have since been bumped down to the second or third page of Google searches, just above the hiker-girl Leyla Arsan who, by the way, has not hiked anything newsworthy in a about 10 years. I do not own a company as the Tages Leyla Arsan does, in comparison, I am a lowly event planner whose first Google entry is for an online reservation system and it says, “contact Leyla Arsan for group reservations”. And because of the Tages Leyla Arsan, you can no longer find my interview in the Daily Illini, nor can you find my race times, or my affiliations with the City of Chicago. I no longer serve on the Associate Board of the Chicago International Film Festival nor am I on any student organizations. Whereas, I have slipped significantly, Leyla Arsan from Tages has grown exponentially in Google rankings. Search Leyla Arsan and click “photos” and there she is, multiple shots of her speaking in public or doing some other fancy, important things. I, on the other hand, have zero photos on the web searches leaving me far less interesting than Tages Leyla Arsan.
In a fit of jealousy, I also contacted the Tages Leyla Arsan. She replied. It turns out she is very nice, we have communicated a couple of times and she is in fact far more interesting than me. She runs a successful business and travels to Europe often, she used to be a consultant and an event planner as well. It was comforting to know that we had something in common other than our birth names and surnames and that she is a gracious and kind Leyla Arsan, perhaps far less neurotic or narcissistic I.
The Tages Leyla Arsan made me aware of yet another Leyla Arsan, a fifth Leyla Arsan who owns a website called Punto Yayincilik. Apparently Tages Leyla Arsan and I have something else in common – we both enjoy searching other Leyla Arsan’s. I have yet to research the Punto Yayincilik Leyla Arsan to see if she is also more interesting than I am. At this point, she has not posed a threat because she does not seem to have any Google appearances. Let’s hope it stays that way.
In 2008, a sixth Leyla Arsan presented herself to me via the web. I was on one of my social networking sites and I received an email from a man named Robert. Robert, who dresses like an East Coast Prep School boy in his profile photo, asked if I was the Leyla Arsan who he went to High School with in Hong Kong. Hong Kong? Leyla Arsan? Just when things were bad enough, I learn that there is a younger Leyla Arsan that grew up in an international community and whose father was the President of a Bank. This Leyla Arsan and I share the same city, she too lives in Chicago. I now receive emails from people all over the world asking if I am “the” Leyla Arsan they went to High School with in Hong Kong. I am guessing that she is also more attractive than I, rich, has great legs and a killer personality - once again making another Leyla Arsan more interesting than me. I will wait for her to achieve a higher level of greatness and banish me to the bottom of the Google listings.
Essentially, what we know for certain is that I am not a professor. I do not own my commerce, EU, something or other company. I am not a photographer. I do not climb mountains or trek difficult terrain. Nor did I grow up with the international, social elite. I am this Leyla Arsan: I am 35, single, living in Chicago, I plan parties for groups of 20 to 600, I have average brains and average strengths but hopefully, I will have a better Google ranking one day.