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Tuesday, July 19, 2011


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Ciaran Laval

There have been reports tonight that people who have had their Second Life avatar names suspended on Google + have been getting them back.

Someone suggested on my blog a marvellous but straight forward solution, Google when they blooged about the freedom to be whom you want to be identified three states, unidentified, pseudonymous and identified, why not let people flag as one of those states? Wouldn't that make everyone happy?


I'm not too sure about your figures what what with overlapping of people using multiple services, but it wouldn't surprise me too much if over 100 million of those 750 million Facebook accounts are actually at least somewhat pseudonymous.


I actually understand Google's reasoning. This is going to be pretty long but hear me out...

The whole idea behind Facebook is having a place where you can present your RL online. You can chat up that old classmate you haven't spoken to in ten years. See what that old flame is up to and look at photos of their new family. Check if anyone in your extended circle of acquaintances are having a party.

For that functionality to work you need real life names. Without them, everyone you'll end up interacting with is either people you meet online or RL friends you're already close to. Forget searching for that distant cousin if he's named Hamburglar52.

Which brings us to the next point. Given the choice -- almost NOONE will use their real name. They don't on any other place online and they wouldn't on Google+. So if Google wants that functionality, the only choice they have is to enforce it.

Could a social network without real names work? Of course it could. Just like you said the bulk of the social net consists of just that. Hundreds of thousand of forums. Twitter. Youtube. Myspace. WoW. Second Life. Steam. Livejournal. Gaia. Flickr. IMVU. Xfire. Deviant Art.

Hey that's alot of competition...

In the niche of RL-slideshows there is one and only one competitor: Facebook. But it's still a niche that has managed to attract 750 million people, all concentrated on one website. If they beat Facebook they've won. If they try out an anonymous social network they'll have a larger potential userbase, but they'll also have the whole internet to compete against.

I should probably add that I hate the policy of enforced real names. I don't have a Facebook account and I don't want one. And I wont use Google+ either. Just trying to offer my thoughts on why I think Google are doing it, and why it might be a good idea from a business standpoint.


Oh crap sorry for double posting :(



Arcadia Codesmith

Sven, thanks for that link. There are literally hundreds of reasons that some of us choose pseudomymity, and anybody who presumes that they know the reason in any particular case is probably dead wrong.


Of course a viable alternative is too not use any social media and spend that same amount of time doing something actually useful with your life.

Arcadia Codesmith

Fun fact: during the nineteenth century, many people would spend hours composing and sending voluminous correspondance to one another... and hardly anybody ever accused them of wasting their time on social networking!

Of course, persons concerned about doing something "useful" with their lives could consider doing something other than hanging out in the glass house, throwing stones.

Arcadia Codesmith

Fun fact: during the nineteenth century, many people would spend hours composing and sending voluminous correspondance to one another... and hardly anybody ever accused them of wasting their time on social networking!

Of course, persons concerned about doing something "useful" with their lives could consider doing something other than hanging out in the glass house, throwing stones.


I think you may be clearly missing the picture. Let me suggest for a moment that this isn't another social experiment where you can jot about your daily rants or what you had for lunch. Think perhaps Facebook and Google+ are posing themselves to a common ground, and that ground is your identity.

A challenge in the market today is that there is no universal way to prove your identity online, none at all. This poses a huge challenge across all platforms, be it banks or just your social website. This was a "think tank" idea where what if you could identify an online user, and their data and confirm he or she is really who she says she is.... See where this is heading and then look back through the many articles written on the changes Facebook is making. Both sites are quite literally infants in this "new concept" and both will have a lot to learn.

While the numbers you give are great examples of populations and it was wise that you took only a small percentage of them as potential people, the reality of a majority of those sites is that like with Facebook, many of those accounts are active alt accounts for our addicted gaming friends and those who wish to utilize multiple identities.

I believe the fine line comes down to "We don't want imaginary people on the credible social outlets that bind to real life endpoints." how to argue that point and manage it is a million dollar question in itself.

iSkye Silverweb

Facebook is a data mine, posing as a "fun-filled" social network/game arcade. They demand real identities solely for profit-making purposes. That's their motive, their reason for being. Users' motives are completely different - network with friends, talk about themselves, entertainment. I can't think of a single person I know who has said to me, "Hm, I think I'll help Facebook make more money off me. I'm going to tell them this new piece of information in my profile..." What FB and Google are forgetting is that people consider their pseudonymous names to be just as 'real' as their so-called legal identities, and they frequently buy, share, and do things as their pseudonyms just as much as they do as their legal identities.

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