Why I’m Not Jumping On Board The Google+ Bandwagon

by matttbastard

Jillian C. York on why the current corporate backlash against online pseudonymity is misguided:

There are myriad reasons why an individual may feel safer identifying under a name other than their birth name. Teenagers who identify as members of the LGBT community, for example, are regularly harassed online and may prefer to identify online using a pseudonym. Individuals whose spouses or partners work for the government or are well known often wish to conceal aspects of their own lifestyle and may feel more comfortable operating under a different name online. Survivors of domestic abuse who need not to be found by their abusers may wish to alter their name in whole or in part. And anyone with unpopular or dissenting political opinions may choose not to risk their livelihood by identifying with a pseudonym.

As Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens put forth in deciding McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission,

Anonymity is a shield from the tyranny of the majority. It thus exemplifies the purpose behind the Bill of Rights, and of the First Amendment in particular: to protect unpopular individuals from retaliation—and their ideas from suppression—at the hand of an intolerant society. The right to remain anonymous may be abused when it shields fraudulent conduct. But political speech by its nature will sometimes have unpalatable consequences, and, in general, our society accords greater weight to the value of free speech than to the dangers of its misuse.

Just as using “real” names can have real consequences, mandating the use of “real” names can too, excluding from the conversation anyone who fears retribution for sharing their views. While one added value of requiring real names might be increased “civility” of the conversation, it is most certainly to the detriment of diversity.

This.  I’d also point out that there’s a complete disregard/willful indifference on the part of FB & Google muckety-mucks to the fact that many (cough) have established pseudonymous online personas — or have published/performed under pen/stage names — with a greater public profile than what might officially appear on one’s birth certificate. Any social media service that would prevent Sam Clemons  from IDing as ‘Mark Twain’ can suck my left one.

2 thoughts on “Why I’m Not Jumping On Board The Google+ Bandwagon

  1. Meh. I suspect one could take into account reported FBI interest in Facebook ( similar to CIA interest in Twitter ? ) as a chance to ‘uproot subversion’ and stomp down free expression of personal opinion with steel shanked gumboots in the name of ‘security’. It isn’t as if we can easily forget such enlightened operations as McCarthyism.

    Like

  2. Silly me. FBI interest in Google is what I should have said. Not that Facebook doesn’t itself have rumours piled high about government interest in using personal; information from Facebook for espionage, which would in turn.be available to corporations and crooks simply from patronage arrangements and hacking.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s