Its been a month now.
I have filled out the “application form” 3 times. This was my first post about it: Google+ and my “real” name: Yes, I’m Identity Woman
The most recent rejection letter when I applied to be a mononym (which I was before this all started) was from “Anonymous Nick”…
Re: [#859600835] Google Profile Name Review
Thank you for contacting us with regard to our review of the name you are
trying to use in your Google Profile. After review of your appeal, we have
determined that the name you want to use violates our Community Standards.
You can review our name guidelines at
If you edit your name to comply with our policies in the future, please
respond to this email so that we can re-review your profile.
The Google Profiles Support Team
Not really sure how to respond to this. Suggestions welcome
Skud has a great post about what she thinks is the right strategy. I get it – she and others inside the company have been advocating for nyms long before the release of the product and “get” the culture that will never believe, listen to or understand there is validity to the point of view that people, all people, should have and to in fact need the freedom to step aside from their “real name” linked across many material contexts of their lives (contracts the have that are public & public records (marriage, owning property), employment, professional identity, personal identity linked to medical records, regular every day life name).
Google wants to be “safe” for “mainstream” america so it has to exclude, all those people with “freaky” internet names. What google doesn’t understand is how many of those mainstream folks “get” they need to have/do and should have different names for different contexts. Skud pointed out in her interview with Sitlgarrian she shared with G+ team members a report from Pew about the use of nyms. (I am not sure if this is the study but more then 50% of bloggers use Nyms)
Just today (Tuesday the 30th) at the IEEE- Engineering, Biology and Medicine Society Conference where I facilitated their first ever unconference I had a conversation with one of the leaders in that community about this. He was VERY clear that inorder to have freedom of speech about political or other topics that were NOT appropriate to have linked to his high profile job at a major university, he needed this freedom. Not that the guy has “radical” points of view in any one direction just simply that he knew his expressing any opinion of any kind about a local political election race would be inappropriate linked to his “real” name linked to his “real profession” where he “really makes a living”. He had no desire to be a troll or enable them AND at the same time he felt less free implications of the policy that google has been putting in place.
Someone who happens to work at Google but has nothing to do with G+ was saying that he felt it was fine for google to set the policy that it did because it was a “private service”. I said you know it is more like a public business establishment like a restaurant that is not permitted to deny service to anyone because of things like race or religion etc. If G+ comments and the whole service was private I would agree but it isn’t – it is very public. I every day watch people talk about me and the issues I care about and I am not able to join in. It is very public and it is being ver discriminatory. If google wanted to have the “private” real people who send in their birth certificate to prove their name site and keep it walled off from the rest of interent and out of their search engine that would be fine by me. They aren’t doing that, they are using their dominant position in the market to coerce people into having to have a Google+ profile with their “real” name or they get cut out of searches and aren’t able to be “found” in Google. They will use the 1+ to shape future searches…and that is power, the power to shape opinion and have your voice heard. It is an abuse of near monopoly power in the market to force everyone who wants to have influence in such a system to give over their real names.
Oh and a classic. I was accused of being a narcissist for caring about this issue and thinking it was important by a person. The person commenting won’t share their real name to comment :)…but you know unless comments are abusive or totally off topic I publish them. I believe in freedom of speech on the interwebs.