One Person One Vote
After reading +Paul Clarke
's post on the forced consolidation of his Google accounts, it occurs to me that the Google+ team has let the identity argument get away from them -- into a battle over pseudonymity.
Most of us think our account as the thing we sign into to use a service (email, banking, utilities). But Google has built our Google Profile as a separate entity. Go into Google+ settings and check the Data liberation options. Your Profile is distinct from your Stream data, Buzz data, and Picasa albums.
We users might think of our Profile as just the settings for our Google+ account, but it is not. It is one of many "reputation management tools" that Google is developing.http://www.ciopronews.com/ciopronews-75-20110617GoogleLaunchesNewReputationManagementTool.html
So the underlying issue isn't about allowing pseudonymity. It's about preventing multiple identities
. It's about quashing sock-puppetry. With Google products, we get +1
. Our Google Profile is our voter registration card
Allowing people one vote (a single identity) is a good thing. It keeps people from gaming the +1 system. It builds reader's trust in a specific author's reputation.
But what's the best way to verify accounts? I don't know the answer to that. But based on takedowns of William Shatner and Alyssa Milano, it's not someone legal name. If you are a rapper, an actor, or a writer your legal name might not be connected with your reputation.
So the question is how should Google+ ensure that one person doesn't create multiple identities while at the same time allowing people to use the pen/stage name on which they've already built their reputation?