Ryan Estrada made this image and shared it on Google+.
Just like in real life
Kee Hinckley commented: “The irony of hating obviously fake names (which is basically what Google’s policy is attempting to police) is that you are encouraging people to lie about who they are, and encouraging them to create throwaway accounts instead of having a persistent identity with a reputation that they care about.”
If someone is created a brand for himself, why should anyone, person or company, care if that brand “sounds realistic” or not? I mean, Mark Twain? That’s like calling yourself Dow Jones…just because we’re used to thinking of it as a name today doesn’t make it “realistic.”
I note that Google+ seems to be OK with Lady Gaga going by Lady Gaga. Presumably they’d be OK with Christopher George Latore Wallace going by The Notorious B.I.G. (although if someone’s posting as him today, there’s another issue with veracity). So if everyone knows me as Raq Winchester, even if that’s not on my photo ID, we should be cool, yeah?
There are cultural issues, also. I had to be “officially male” in Malaysia once (long story, women can’t pay taxes or sign for rebates), and the guy said “It’s not like anyone will know – I mean “Rachel” could totally be a guy’s name.”
Facebook blocked a Chrome extension today that let you export all your data (including contact info about your FB friends) to your computer.
I’m sure this has NOTHING to do with the many beta users of Google + utilizing this extension in the last few days.
It does raise a question: To whom does your identity information belong? To you? What about to friends with whom you’ve shared it via Facebook or another tool? To the tool you used?
This is the same model that has made me crazy for years, whenever Equifax or a similar credit agency charged me for access to my information.
It’s possible that we should split data from information: I own my data (my gender, name, age, address) and can share it with my friends or businesses or the government and they can do whatever they want with it (Friend A can tell his Friend Q my birthdate). When they turn it into information (“we’ve analyzed your gender, age, residency, and search terms, and think you’ll like these ads”), then that info is theirs and I’d have to pay to get it or to keep them from using it or selling it.
Those of us who made it into the Google+ beta before they shut down invites (or got hacked into it afterwards) had a good laugh when we discovered that Zuckerberg was in the beta.
There was instant doubt. Is it really him?
I think it is – I mean, why wouldn’t he? If I were him I’d be in the beta. But I think it’s interesting that the reaction is immediate suspicion of identity. “Fake until proven real” seems to be the rule for folks who spend a lot of cycles on social media.
Sadly, “real until proven fake” seems to be the starting point for everyone else.