Google+, Facebook and Online Identity: The Problem With “Real Names” (And Why It Matters To You)

google plus logoA long time ago, Lawrence Lessig wrote the book Code (1999). He argued, persuasively, that “code is law.” And “code”? It’s written, in the main, by profit-maximizing organizations.

In 2003, Mark Zuckerburg launched the site that would become Facebook. You had to use a real email address and your real name. The site was, for all intents and purposes, a limited edition Match.com (which requires real names – “accurate” profile information). Content was not accessible via the public web; it was only accessible to those who had access (harvard.edu email addresses) to the site. Reams have been written about privacy and the poorly enforced “real names” policy as Facebook pushed its users from from the protections of a very closed garden to the public web — a push mandated by the profit-maximization needs of a corporation.

Flash forward to June 2011. Google launched Google+ and technology early adopters scrambled to secure a field trial invitation. As danah boyd writes: Continue reading

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Tip: How To Share Google Reader Posts On Google+

If you use Google Reader to access your RSS feeds, you’ve probably noticed that the built-in “sharing” feature does not export those shares to Google+. However, you can manually share Reader items on Google+ if you are using a desktop or laptop browser. This tip does not work with Safari and the iPad or iPhone.

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+1 Takes on New Meaning With Launch Of Google Plus

google circles

Google Circles

If you’re longing for a digital networking space that lets you easily share information with the different facets of your life, then put Google Plus at the top of your “to explore” list. (Assuming you can wrangle an invitation!)

If you’re longing for a digital networking space that lets you easily videoconference with 10 people while everyone watches (and chats about) the same YouTube clip, then put Google Plus (hangouts) at the top of your “to explore” list.

If you’re longing for a digital networking space that integrates functional email, real cloud-based documents, an attractive photo gallery … and lets you eavesdrop on conversations like Twitter does (no reciprocity required in setting up circles) … then put Google Plus at the top of your “to explore” list.

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