When to share your real name? Blizzard and their Real ID plans.

I was recently CCed in a tweet referencing this article “Why Real ID is a Really Bad Ideaabout World of Warcraft implementing their version of a “Real ID” in a way that violated the trust of its users.

The woman writing the article is very clear on the identity “creep” that happened and got to the point of requiring users to use the Real ID account within the system to post on forums and EVEYWHERE they interacted on company websites.

She articulates clearly why this creates an unhealthy climate and a chilled atmosphere for many users.

[Read more...]

On Identity and Centralization

I was asked for a quote today to comment on F8 developments and the continuing apparent “centralization” of identity on that platform. It is not new for me to say these things but perhaps more crystallized…..

The turning point of the web becoming more social was mentioned several times today.

The issue at hand is fundamentally about FREEDOM: the freedom to choose who hosts your identity online (with the freedom to set up and host your own), the freedom to choose your persona – how you present yourself, what your gender is, your age, your race, your sex, where you are in the world. A prime example of WHY these freedoms are vital is the story of James Chartrand – you can read for yourself her story of being a “him” online as a single mother seeking work as a copy editor. Having a male identity was the way she succeeded.

We did a whole session at She’s Geeky the women’s technology unconference about women, identity and privacy online. ALL the women in that session had between 3-5 personas for different aspects of life and purposes. Many of those personas were ‘ungendered’ or male. I have not talked to many people of color about their online lives and persona management but should. I imagine that like women they choose for some of their persona not to identify racially.

Your “friends” shouldn’t be locked into a particular commercial context. This is where the work on client-side applications for identity management and social coordination for individuals are key. The browser was never designed to do these kinds of functions and I don’t think trying to make it do them is wise.

We need open “friend” standards where people are autonomous, without their identity tied to a commercial silo – like Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Microsoft, AOL, or any company. This is a vision of a web where I can “peer friend” my friends, and then no entity has power over our relationship. This requires people to be first-class objects on the web. Not easy to do, but essential for us to figure out.

She’s Geeky – January 29-31

SGLogo

She’s Geeky: Connecting Women in Tech
Returning to the Bay Area January 29, 30 & 31, 2010
@ the Computer History Museum in Mountain View
She’s Geeky is just 7 weeks away!   Early Bird Tickets are available for just 2 more weeks until December 20th.
http://shesgeekybayarea3.eventbrite.com/
www.shesgeeky.com
This event is for:
Women Working in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematic Fields.
Women into their gadgets and SciFi Fan’s.
Women students of the sciences, those training to be engineers, aspiring mathematicians and technology professions.
Women who are kernel hackers and all those who aspire to deepen their geekiness by learning how to code the php on their blogs.
Daughters, Nieces and mentees of all of the above
Women who are retired used to work in tech related fields.
What happens?
All the women who attend are invited to create the agenda live the day of the event.
Women can present/share about their area of professional expertise.
Women learn from one another.
Women discuss critical issues affecting them in the digital age.
Women talk about work place and community issues they face.
Women are inspired to follow their passion and believe in their own abilities.
Women find connections and support for their work and vision.
About The Format
She’s Geeky is an unConference (http://www.unconference.net/) where the agenda is created by all participants live the day the event happens.  This format supports peer to peer learning, dialogue about the issues that are top of mind and networking.  In this women’s only environment attendees have the opportunity to see their contribution to their field in a new light and gain confidence to step forward in their lives and careers.
Click here (http://shesgeeky.org/sg/2009/11/twitter-highlights-from-shes-geeky-dc/) for a dip into the Twitter Stream from the November 13 & 14, 2009, sold out, Washington, DC She’s Geeky Event to get a sense of the experience from those who attended!  Or to read answers to the end of day question: ‘As a result of today…’ click here. (http://www.shesgeeky.org/wiki/Sg2009dc:Results)
About She’s Geeky
She’s Geeky convenes to inspire women for the future, providing a gathering space to create enduring communities that foster collaboration and innovation, while promoting initiative and leadership among women tech professionals. Beginning with its resoundingly successful 2007 unConference in Silicon Valley, She’s Geeky attracts women from a broad spectrum of technological specialties, diverse social groups, generations, and levels of expertise. The inclusive quality of She’s Geeky events promotes discussion, furthers cooperation, and encourages learning. She’s Geeky advances systemic change in tech culture by disseminating effective practices to address the challenges of women working in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
She’s Geeky isn’t a “women in tech group” and we don’t have chapters around the country. We are an unConference event that works to connect and promote existing tech groups. Currently  we work with DevChix, LinuxChix, Women 2.0, Girls in Tech, Women Who Tech, Digital Sistas, Girl Geek Dinners, Gaming Angels, the Anita Borg Institute for Women in Technology.

She’s Geeky: THE UNCONFERENCE Connecting Women in Tech is  returning to the Bay Area January 29, 30 & 31, 2010  @ the Computer History Museum in Mountain View

Early Bird Tickets are available until Friday December 20th.

This event is for:

  • Women Working in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematic Fields.
  • Women into their gadgets and SciFi Fan’s.
  • Women students of the sciences, those training to be engineers, aspiring mathematicians and technology professions.
  • Women who are kernel hackers and all those who aspire to deepen their geekiness by learning how to code the php on their blogs.
  • Daughters, Nieces and mentees of all of the above
  • Women who are retired used to work in tech related fields.

What happens?

  • All the women who attend are invited to create the agenda live the day of the event.
  • Women can present/share about their area of professional expertise.
  • Women learn from one another.
  • Women discuss critical issues affecting them in the digital age.
  • Women talk about work place and community issues they face.
  • Women are inspired to follow their passion and believe in their own abilities.
  • Women find connections and support for their work and vision.

About The Format:

She’s Geeky is an unConference where the agenda is created by all participants live the day the event happens.  This format supports peer to peer learning, dialogue about the issues that are top of mind and networking.  In this women’s only environment attendees have the opportunity to see their contribution to their field in a new light and gain confidence to step forward in their lives and careers.  You can see proposed topics on our wiki.

See a dip into the Twitter Stream from the November 13 & 14, 2009, sold out, Washington, DC  event to get a sense of the experience from those who attended!  Or to read answers to the end of day question: ‘As a result of today…’ click here.

About She’s Geeky:

She’s Geeky convenes to inspire women for the future, providing a gathering space to create enduring communities that foster collaboration and innovation, while promoting initiative and leadership among women tech professionals. Beginning with its resoundingly successful 2007 unConference in Silicon Valley, She’s Geeky attracts women from a broad spectrum of technological specialties, diverse social groups, generations, and levels of expertise. The inclusive quality of She’s Geeky events promotes discussion, furthers cooperation, and encourages learning. She’s Geeky advances systemic change in tech culture by disseminating effective practices to address the challenges of women working in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

If you are a guy please let your women colleagues know about the event. The event is for women only – we have thought a lot about this choice and why we made it – it is decidedly not about be being “anti-male” rather much of it is focused on creating a safe space for women who are geeky who have been shy to express themselves. If this makes you feel uncomfortable you can read more about this nuance and what we are about here.

We have sponsorships available at the community level, individuals and small companies and corporate levels.

We have some cool banners up on our website too.

You can find us on twitter @shesgeeky

You can contact us – info@shesgeeky.org

At the Ideas Project apparently women don’t have any ideas.

As some of you may or may not know, I founded a women’s-only technology conference, She’s Geeky. There has been a bunch of conversation in this past week about the lack of women speakers at tech events (in fields like web 2.0, social media, government where there is significant female participation).

It got started with this top 10 list put out by the Speakers Group that included NO women. Then O’Reilly published its first round of speakers for Web 2.0 Summit that was only 20% women. Allyson Kapin called him out, started a petition, and a whole discussion got going in Twitter. It continued with the inc500 conference.

This morning via a link I ended up on this website: The IDEAS Project. This is a site talking about the big ideas of the social web and the future of identity, collaboration, standards development, and norms on the digital web. The pictures speak for themselves.

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For those of you counting:

  • 5 women out of 50
  • racial diversity by my observation 2 asian people and 2 black people
  • No one under the age of 30 and not that many under the age of 40.

Monitor Talent is behind the site and it is sponsored by Nokia and powered by Xigi.

Many of the men here have written books or have academic credentials.

Of course it is a social media site, so any one can contribute. I just don’t want to contribute to a place that is so skewed in one direction in terms of the starting point. This is not a hard core IT subject, this is social media and use of the web and the network in a forward looking way. Looking along the side, all the contributed ideas so far come from handles with male names.

It all makes me wonder:

  • Who is a real “authority” on a subject?
  • If you have a title and a position at an institution this means you must know, right?
  • If you have written a book you must have it right?

Some friends are in this “talent pool” like Jerry Michalski, Clay Shirky, Doc Searls, Laura Fitton, Christine Heron, Esther Dyson, Bob Fankston, David Hornick, Robert Scoble, Kevin Werbach, Andreas Weigend, Ross Mayfield, Charlene Li, Jeff Clavier.

I am curious if they asked about the gender balance reflected in this project up front?

Have they worked to recommend that Monitor Talent pick up more women talent? or even proactively suggested monitor seek to develop women talent?

The web offers a huge opportunity to change who is seen and referenced as having authority and we need to take advantage of this change the web offers.

I know this… I I have never had a formal position at any company, yet IdM leaders at major companies like Microsoft, SUN, Novell, Burton Group, PayPal, Google, Yahoo!, etc. point at my blog, and I have, at least within that world, a lot of authority as a community leader – I have led 15+ events on the topic of user-centric identity in the past 5 years and and spoken about 3 times a year at other events. I am very very comfortable talking about the topics in my industry, this is what I DO – I am an evangelist, a communicator, but this alone didn’t translate into being able to speak without training, practice or support. (I currently don’t proactively seek to speak because I had a bad experience and it rattled me.)

I think we need to work on moving beyond just taking at face value “old” positional authority like having a title at a university and proclaiming expertise – it doesn’t mean those people participate in the communities that are actually driving the innovation they speak about.

There is a systemic issue here. I hope that it can be addressed by the whole community.

Here are some talented women in identity if you ware wondering who they are.

Facebook Changing Privacy Settings

This past month has been interesting for Facebook – they hired Timothy Sparapani as their lobbyist in Washington:

As a prominent privacy advocate, Timothy Sparapani, former senior legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, argued that Internet companies have too much control over consumers’ data. The self-described “privacy zealot” didn’t join Facebook until seven months ago because he was uneasy about revealing personal information on the site.

He joins 24-year-old Adam Coner for the last year who has had as his main job “educat[ing] members of Congress and Capitol Hill staffers about leveraging Facebook to reach constituents.”

The current Chief Privacy officer Chris Kelly will be going on a leave of absence in September to focus on running for Attorney General of California.

EPIC has a very detailed page about Facebook Privacy. It is an impressive page that will give you pause. It outlines all the major features of the service it has concerns about. It has a list of all the EPIC Actions related to Facebook too.

This week Facebook is taking some steps to improve privacy from its website:

The power to share is the cornerstone of Facebook. Privacy and the tools for tailoring what information is shared with whom are at the heart of trust. Over the past five years, Facebook has learned that effective privacy is grounded in three basic principles:

  • Control. When people can easily control the audience for their information and content, they share more and they’re able to better connect with the people who matter in their lives.
  • Simplicity. When tools are simple, people are more likely to use them and understand them.
  • Connection. With effective tools, people can successfully balance their desire to control access to information with their desire to connect – to discover and be discovered by those they care about.

That’s why in the coming days, we’ll be improving privacy on Facebook by launching a series of tests that guide people to new, simpler tools of control and connection.

I wrote about some of the issues I have with Facebook when I heard Dave Morin talk at SXSW “Am I to “old” to get Facebook – or do they not get it?”. I highlighted 3 different issues:

  • What Blane Cook describes as “being in a room with everyone you ever met all the time”: all my friends from different contexts of my life get all the same ‘status’ updates and I don’t use them cause I feel like it is social spam to speak to them with the same voice and same frequency. I also don’t like that it broadcasts everything I “do” in the network to everyone.
  • “Real Names” vs. handles online – their belief they have “everyone’s real name in facebook”
  • The difference that women experience in online space and how they manage and protect their identity and what information is online.

Here is what they are saying about how to address this issue:

They are introducing a Publisher Privacy Control so that on a per-post basis users can control who sees each post. Friends, Friends and Family etc. On the other end of the spectrum, you can also share with “everyone” now.

They are simplifying their privacy settings. Hopefully this will make it more usable.

They are figuring out how to gracefully help people transition between the old settings and the new way.

They are asking everyone to revisit their settings…because:

We think Facebook is most useful when people can find and connect with each other, which is why this tool will enable you to make available those parts of your profile that you feel comfortable sharing in order to facilitate better connection. You will have the choice of being as open or as limited in the sharing of this information as you want.

The byline on the post is cute:

Chris Kelly, Facebook’s chief privacy officer, is glad to be offering you more control.

Read Write Web goes into their understanding of the announcement and user experience. This is a long, good piece.

Surfacing back into Cyberspace at Building 43 today

Basically this post is to say I am “back” – I have a bit more time on my hands this summer to pay attention to Cyberspace and want to give attention to expressing my thoughts and ideas in text online again. I am inspired by this mention by Scoble around the launch of  Building 43 that is happening today. I thought it was an actual physical space when I got the invitation. Turns out it is a website that Robert Scoble is leading. It is focused on what he calls the 2010 web and others call Web 3.0.

Here’s another way to put it. When you look at Techmeme and see all the tech bloggers yammering on about the latest cool things, the way they were this week about Facebook’s new URLs that are coming out tomorrow, or Apple’s new iPhone, do they look backward and think about the average businessperson? Not in my experience. We don’t have an industry conversation about how to actually use all this cool stuff to improve lives, make businesses stronger and closer to their customers, and have some fun.

A few people here and there are trying. I watch what Chris Messina, David Recordon, Marc Canter, Joseph Smarr, Kaliya Hamlin, and a group of others are trying to do by pushing a more open web. Those are the kinds of efforts that inspire me and are inspiring Building43. Can we build on what they are trying to do and take it to main street?

This actually impresses me cause I thought Scoble had just become an internet micro-celebrety for its own sake. I look forward to contributing to the conversation about the future of what is becoming a very social web where peoples identity online matters deeply.

Here is where I have been since my last post.

Since Social Web Foo Camp and posting the 80% complete article about communities context and online life. I haven’t blogged. I have been very busy though.

Immediately following I attended the “identity day” at RSA on Monday April 20th –  talks were given from the front of the room for a day. Liberty Alliance put the day together along with the Information Card Foundation- The Kantara Initiative was “launched”. I am not clear that the format of the day actually provided greater understanding by those outside our community that are confused by all the activity.

The exciting thing that happened leading up to this day was the launch of the new Information Card Foundation Website – I gave some feedback that was included in the core language and messaging. It has great Flash animation explaining the cards along with featured projects including the GSA Demo.

RSA was fun – I didn’t spend to much time in sessions mostly talking to people in the community. I led a peer-to-peer session on Business Models for Claims Based Identity. A good group attended however the room layout was cold and stale. (I will be writing about it on my unconference blog shortly).

Penguin Day followed on April 25th. This is a super fun day facilitated by Allen Gunn focused on Non-Profits and Open Source. I learned more about TikiWiki as a content management system (I am considering it as the platform for She’s Geeky). I also was impressed by how much CiviCRM had improved. I also talked to a college registrar very interested in how information card technology might play a roll in getting them out of paper based management of student records and certification.

The Nonprofit Technology Conference followed – they had a large exhibit hall and I talked to many of the vendors there about OpenID and Information Cards – about 1/2 had heard about OpenID and almost none about Information Cards. It was great to talk to my friends in the industry (I have been attending this conference since 2004). Social Actions is progressing and is creating a way to aggregate action information for social good.

I flew to NYC to facilitate the Creative Unconference on May 7-8 put on by the One Club for Art and Copy collaborating with the Society for Digital Agencies.  This was during Creative Week. The One Club gives out bronze, sliver and gold pencil’s – some of the most prestigious awards in the advertising business. They attended their interactive awards on Friday night – I brought Robert Tolmach along as a guest and he told me about his new project – Class Wish.

I went to DC and spent the day at the Sex 2.0 conference at the intersection of social media, feminism and sexuality. I was particularly interested in how this community was thinking thinking about and dealing identity online and off. Many people had names they went by within the community that were different from their “every day” names. Several presenters talked about having two facebook profiles (one for their sex life and one for regular life) I pointed out that this against facebook policy and they were surprised – it seemed very natural to have two persona’s. Other presenters talked about being fully “out” completely linking their sex life.

I attended the Anita Borg Institute for Women in Technology Women of Vision Awards. It was a very inspiring evening. Padmashree Warrior the CTO of Cisco was the key note speaker – she was super inspiring and gave ideas about how to connect to the community 2.0 audience.

I spoke at Community 2.0 about identity technologies. I covered OpenID, OAuth and Information Cards and at the end mentioned project VRM for those who were very forward looking. It was a relatively small conference and I spent a lot of time preparing for the talk with my speech coach. My issue has been having to much to say – I can talk about identity for hours and in great detail. Lura helped me figure out what to say. I did a good job clearly communicating and had several people say they enjoyed my talk and it gave them some practical information not just social media guru hype.

I went to the first day of the VRM workshop and was totally impressed by the quality of projects and companies working in the space. Several attendees didn’t know about IIW and a few signed up to attend.

The Internet Identity Workshop was AMAZING. We had the same number of attendees as we usually do. I am going to write some more posts about the event soon. The next IIW is November 3-5 in Mountain View.

I went to the Maker Faire on Sunday the 31st of May – it was fun to see all the stuff people are making. I also got a LiveScribe Pen. I will be using it for diagrams on this blog in the coming months.

June 1 was CommunityOne where i saw Jono Bacon talk about Community there were 10 people to see him speak in an auditorium that held 1000.

I flew to Boston and met with Fabio Carara of the Venice Project Center and Venice 2.0 – they are considering how to leverage 20 years worth of geo-data. We are discussing building a community including a few unconferences.

I had dinner with Mary Ruddy and we continued progress on Identity Commons infrastructure – particularly our new blog/website.

I facilitated the Mass Technology Leadership Council Spring Meeting that asked the question “What is the future of Software and the Internet” I lead a session on identity – they asked good questions and were impressed by all the activity in the space.

I flew to San Francisco – to make it back for the 2nd Scala Lift Off. Scala is a programming language – some describe as Java++, Lift is a web framework. This is a great programming language community with an healthy online community life. I work supporting them in community building when the meet face-to-face.

Yesterday I was working with Forum One facilitating the 4th Online Community Unconference. This is a great community of online community managers (the folks who moderate online community), platform providers (software providers) and hosts (companies that have online communities). I presented a session about OpenID, OAuth and Information Cards – I even got a bottle of wine during the closing from one of the attendees thanking me for the quality of information that I shared.

Today it is the Building 43 party at Tech Crunch and next week is SemWeb in San Jose – I will likely make it to the Personal Democracy Forum. The next “identity” event is Burton Group Catalyst at the end of July in San Diego.

I look forward engaging in this medium again with a post every few days.

Women I admire

Today is Ada Lovelace Day – over at She’s Geeky we blogged about the pledge for today succeeding a few months ago.

Mary Hodder is a good friend and someone I admire a lot for her courage in doing a video startup Dabble as a lone woman founder. She has taught me a lot about technology and has been a good friend for many years.

In the Identity World I am grateful for the other women who have contributed to the field and have been good friends while at conferences – Mary Ruddy and Pam Dingle also both have their own consultancies now.

Eve Maler is a big inspiration for me – I actually found her blog Pushing String and told Drummond who I was working with at the time he had to meet her. I loved the weaving of cross stitch with XML on that blog – the title says it all. It would be a year or two before we finally met – her URL is also cool – XMLGrrl – another “identity super hero”

I love women who work in tech – one of the reasons I founded She’s Geeky. We are looking ahead to our next conference April 18th in Northern Virginia (DC Area) that I won’t be facilitating because of an invite to an even here in California that has to do with identity.

Women in Open Source

There was a great panel on Women in Open Source at OSCON. It raised some very interesting issues including the open question of why there is 10x fewer women in Open Source then in the regular tech industry (as programmers and technical roles). Worth thinking about more and I hope that O’Reilly and others can continue the inquiry within its events.