Many people hate real life. By that I mean, people create a new identity online to satisfy what “real” life doesn’t provide. For some, it’s purely entertainment, others it’s a sense of community, for yet more it’s escapism. For many, it’s a combination of all that. You’d think that after indexing 6 billion pages, Google would understand that the reasons for creating an identity online is as complex as the identity we create for ourselves in any medium. So why are we limited to connecting via our real name? Security is a common pushback from Google – but there’s many people I only know online, I would like to maybe connect with them using Google+, but I’m not going to be able to. I don’t know their real names. I’m entirely fine with that. Some of these people I’ve “known” for well over a decade. In fact I trust them.
I really liked the article at Boing Boing about pseudonymous posting and why it matters – the comments are even more illustrious of the issue. So inferring what we know about what Google knows, doesn’t it make sense that Google is insisting on real names is based on something else other than security? Perhaps it’s more about data mining – which has been Google’s strength and main asset since day one. It’s also an easy way to validate ranking through what’s being shared on the platform.
I’ll say it. I hate sharing bookmarks.
Don’t get me wrong, I like sharing ideas, but sites like Delicious, Diigo, Digg and the like aren’t doing it for me. I have a variety of interests. I like punk rock records. I’m fascinated by the idea of 21st century literacies. I really like a lot of things that are Japanese. I like the concept of zen. I may not want to share everything with everybody. Yes, I know that I can selectively choose which items go to the public, which go to a select group, which go to family… it shouldn’t be that hard though.
I manage different facets of my online identity, and in the past I’ve chosen a certain identity (dietsociety) to represent my online life, and other ones (jonk, jon_k) to represent my professional life. Somewhere around 2001, I decided to consolidate under one banner (dietsociety). I liked the connotations of a small world, or a shrinking world, and the fact that it was a double entendre – my first publishing attempt was in the late 80’s (as in 1989) as a punk fanzine, “Diet Society”, which was part social commentary, part music.
So why the hate-on for social bookmarking? I hate that the current services don’t tell me why someone bookmarked it, or in Diigo’s case, underplay the annotation feature – or you can annotate a site, but it interferes with the “flow” of the site – changing the experience of using the web. I hate that I have to manually retag things that in the context of my bookmarks menu, makes sense. I hate that bookmark sharing sites don’t tell me the last time I used the bookmark (which might provide interesting ranking data). I hate that I use a total of 11 browsers (across three computers and one device) and I have to manually sync each one. Never mind the fact that I don’t want work data to be the same as home data. Shouldn’t it be easy to do that? It apparently has escaped me how to do this. I don’t mind sharing, in fact, I love sharing. I just don’t see the popularity contest working. I mean, we don’t go to AltaVista anymore because we recognize that popularity is not the best ranking of information, so why are we paying attention to it on Delicious?