Jul 13 2011

Lauren Weinstein has an excellent piece up on Google’s identity controversy which you should read, if identity and its issues are of interest to you. It’s smart and focused and balanced and well-spoken. It’s thoughtful and not overly long.

I’m really going to mess that last one up with my response. Buckle up, girls and boys.

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Last week, there was an apparent contradiction in Google’s recently published policy in the use of pseudonyms for Google products versus its actual practice. After obtaining additional clarification, that contradiction has gotten far more pronounced.

That is, you must use the name in your wallet as opposed to any other for Google Profiles and Google Plus … except where Google decides for some reason that you don’t have to.

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It all comes down to what is considered to be an ‘authentic’ name. If, for example, you’re a member of the Screen Actor’s Guild, you probably never use your given name – as the SAG requires names on its rolls to be unique, and never used before. Thus if you have the same name as anyone previously on its rolls, you’ve no recourse but to register with the SAG under another and use it for all related activities.

Names being what they are, virtually nobody you see in the cast, crew or credits of a film are using the names they were born with. Many people increasingly use public profiles online, never leaving online traces of or using their private identity at all.

However, using a nickname, nom de plume, stage-name, professional name, or performance name might not be good enough for Google+. Google+ really seems to want your original name. The one that maybe hardly anyone actually knows you by.

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