An excerpt from science fiction writer Michael Burstein:
I imagine it wouldn't surprise the people who know me that I have done this numerous times. When you write fiction, you tend to want to see what sort of public picture you're creating on the Internet.
But I've also run searches on my name to find other Michael Bursteins out there. I'm not sure why I've done this, although I always felt an odd sort of identification with the others who share my name. For example, I'm a fan of the Israeli actor and singer Mike Burstyn because we share a name. (Burstyn's original name was Michael Burstein; I believe he changed the spelling for his career, since it was easier to fit on a marquee.) I make a point of seeing Burstyn perform whenever I can.
Burstein is not a common name, and my father used to tell me that there was a time when the only Bursteins in the Manhattan phone book were our family. I tended to think that there weren't too many other Bursteins out there. But with the rise of the Internet, I've found many others. Including other Michael Bursteins.
Why I am sharing this? Because today's New York Times has an interesting article on the topic of finding people with your own name: Names That Match Forge a Bond on the Internet by Stephanie Rosenbloom. I'm apparently not the only person who's done this. In fact, according to the article, a writer named Angela Shelton has just published a book about meeting 40 other women with her same name. The article also notes why we might feel an odd kinship with someone who shares our name – social psychologist Brett Pelham has done studies that show that our names, and the letters within them, are influential in our lives.
To answer the question: Yes, I do this every day, and just partly to see who is linking/talking about me. Mostly, tho, because there are so many guys out there named Tom McMahon. There's Tom McMahon the Actor, Tom McMahon the Canadian Musician, Tom McMahon the Kids & Family Newspaper Columnist, and Tom McMahon the Executive Director of the Democratic National Committee, just to name a few.