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.