Thursday, May 27, 2010
Am I famous enough?
Today at work I was trained to use a search engine for locating people who have seemingly fallen off the face of the earth. We use it to help us locate participants in longitudinal studies (with their prior consent) so that we can follow up with them. It's pretty awesome and frightening all at the same time. Longitudinal research is imperative to understanding social change and long-term effects of trauma, but it's really expensive and time-consuming. As a result, most researchers opt for cross-sectional data. But I digress.
During the training session, the coordinator felt the need to stop and explain that should I search for a celebrity, a red flag appears on my account, and they immediately contact me asking why I have tried to find Justin Bieber's house.
My question is, how famous does one have to be to turn up a red flag? Obviously, there is, as of yet, no standardized quantifiable measurement of celebrity. Yes, you can check the STARmeter on IMDB, and obviously if you've had an US Weekly cover in the last 3 years you're probably off limits, but the public is fickle, and fame is relative. If I look up Snooki, does the SWAT team show up at my office? If I just want to ask Steve Bartman what the hell he was thinking, and in person, is that off limits? What about that delicious man in the Old Spice commercials? Either way, the training coordinator had no answer for me, and I think even the fact that I asked made him nervous. On another note, if you type in the first five letters of my name ("kate h..."), my name is second on the google drop down list...second only to Kate Hudson. I think that's pretty kick ass.