Friday, September 2, 2011

RANT ALERT - Best of Nymwars Micro-Rants


This is an edited version of a series of micro-rants, each set posted one tweet (or g+ post) at a time, over the course of a day.
Ejecting virtually identified people with active social networks shows that Google sees online relationships as illegitimate. When Google ejects you for using virtual identity it not only disrespects your privacy choice, but also the choices of everyone who circles you. Shunning the pseudonymous makes intolerance a community standard.

Today, most of the privacy we relinquish is volitional. But If we lose the Nymwars we all become permanent residents in a global Big Brother reality house.  The expression of identity is multidimensional, aspects emerging and submerging in a fluid dance with the changing environment. Why would we want a virtual police state where authorities can demand to see ID with no cause other than a foreign sounding name? Identity is also socially constructed. When your tribe moves from 100 RL to 1000+ virtual, the influence tips from internal to external.

If everything you did in physical life was recorded, stored and publicly searchable how would that change the quality of your life? What we say and do in social networks is potentially public and databased forever. Pseudonymity seems like a prudent response.

After wading in Google+ comment sections related to pseudonymity, I find the "real" name people a lot scarier than us virtual folk. It's not pseudonymity that encourages disrespectful communication in comment threads, it's that it occurs in front of an audience. Narcissism is the #1 factor degrading the quality of social networks. So proof of empathy makes more sense than proof of identity.  Homophobes are often self-loathing closet cases. The same is true for those who loathe "fake namers" for hiding their true selves. It's ironic that those calling for authenticity want to make all the world a stage and cast us all as full-time unpaid actors.

For all the latest nymwars news, see my aggregation site.



sororNishi said...

I have to agree about the posts by "real" name people ... I have seen some extremely bizarre posts over the years by people using their real names.

I think the right to name myself is probably the thing I most want to defend in this war. It is connected to my self respect, an asset I defend vigorously.

Anon4fun said...

Who are you people with your small time concerns based on out-dated concepts like privacy, a bunch of guitar-strumming hippies? Can't you see Google is playing for high stakes here? As effectively admitted by Eric Schmidt himself, G+ is the front-end of an identity service disguised as a social network (a "know your customer" mechanism with super powers, as it were). And this identity service is part of a larger strategy by Google to facilitate almost everything online that requires the name under which you do financial transactions (i.e. your "real" name). So stop standing in the way of progress. It's deliciously easy to make yourself available to commerce. Try it, you'll like it.