Google creates G+ as a "Game Preserve"

From formerly-inside and outside sources, and from my experience in the psychology of social games, I think what Google is trying to do is to create the perfect environment for maximizing profit on social games -- what I've started to think of as a "game preserve."

The thing is, that it's exactly the "real names" crowd who are the conservative literalist thinkers, what some marketing people call the "true believers," who are most responsive when a company like Zynga sends them the message that "Cousin Anna's farm is in trouble!" That email rings true to them -- they read it as having a high truth value, viscerally.

Then they buy game currency and unwither her crops. They'll even work a little overtime to do it because it gives them the same neurochemical reward as really doing a favor for Anna, and scooping her out of trouble. These are also the folks who have issues distinguishing urban legends or phishing attempts, and they also end up distrusting false names, relativism, ambiguous gender presentation, qualified presentation of political and diplomatic situations, risk assessments (vs. "what is safe" or "what is dangerous") and so on.

These are the same people who forward you every urban legend that they could have checked in Snopes, but they don't have the capacity to put an interrupt in that circuit. They accept a lot of marketing and political messages uncritically too -- as long as they have an affinity with the faction or brand that is presenting the message. As long as it smells like their tribe.

As long as it isn't funny looking. A nym. The wrong religion. The wrong color skin. Talks funny.

I'm not trying to be mean or perjorative. I'm talking about demographics. Marketing people make a lot of money off these generalizations. Politicians accrue a lot of power off of blocs of voters who think like this. They exist whether you like the idea that there are people who think like this or not.

So, the way I was brought up, you can make money off of people like this, or you can manipulate them for purposes of power -- or you can attempt to educate them. The first two purposes, when done cynically, are considered in my family to be of questionable ethics. Some might call it evil.

So if my sources are right, Google is setting up, cynically, a real names environment in order to create a profit center for social gaming. But because they can't say, "We're modern relativists, and you're cattle," they are saying "You're honest people, and these people are dishonest and won't use their real names -- so we won't let them bother you."

In my book, that's all kinds of evil. Because it sets a precedent -- Google having a bully pulpit for policy approximately equal to Hillary Clinton's US State Dept among governmental policy setters.

Now, I'm going to say something else, and this is even more unpleasant.

Those people can't empathize with us. If you take the average "true believer" type and show him or her "My Name is Me" (which I think is inspiring, myself!), the "true believer" is going to be all the more confirmed in his or her belief that these nym people are a bunch of freaks that are not fit for the company of real normal people, and are after our children, and need to be rounded up and sequestered away from where they might contaminate decent people.

Some of the younger cohort of the "true believer" families will peel off and join us, and that just reinforces their attitudes. We all know a friend who left the conservative family and went off to become the SCAdian or is gay or what have you.

The thing we rarely reflect on, is that we really do not empathize with them. We think that we just need to sit down and talk to them and rationally discuss the issues, and show them "My Name is Me" and they'll see how good and kind we are, and that we're trying to include all these nice harmless marginalized folks -- and when we make all these arguments, and they read them, they'll change their minds, because reading our words will change their understanding of their reality.

Nuh-uh. Never going to happen. If you think talking will change their minds, you are not empathizing with the other side. Talking, writing, rationalizing, will never do it. The only thing that will do it, will be for these people to know, work with, and accept people into their REAL LIFE tribes, circles of friends, workplaces, churches, clubs, and families, openly and out of the closet, people who are nym-like. And that's a process that will happen over decades, similar to the integration of race, which happened by the same mechanism.

"True believers" can not adapt through reading, self-modification, pondering, gedankenexperiment, and technological means. They have to adapt through experience and emotional cultural change on a generational basis, or very occasionally through the charismatic leadership of a community leader, during very stressful times. It's a very old style tribal way of thinking in a way, very group oriented, and you are not going to be able to penetrate it by arguing with individuals.

In this day and age, it's kind of taboo to talk about these things, which is why we have MS-NBC raging about the Tea Party, and Fox News raging about Liberals, and you'd think we had different species of humans.

But long ago, humans pretty much stopped evolving physically, and started evolving culturally and by psychological variance, and we don't talk about that as speciation, except perhaps in marketing -- and of course we marketing psychology people, and political people (it's all the same these days) and social engineering people (who don't really exist, shhhh) are all evil anyway.

We're supposed to pretend all people are the same, but when you get into an argument that nyms should be allowed and you find that people factionalize so sharply, you have to ask yourself, "are we all really wired to think the same?"

+Liz Fong talks about Internet natives vs digital natives (vs digital founders) as essentially seeing the world differently, and many of us have friends who are Aspies or have ADHD or various who see the world through very different lenses. Even gender is a lens -- we may say that a woman or a man or a person who identifies as whatever can do whatever in this world, but the neurochemistry we're bathed in from birth still makes a difference, and when it changes as we age or modify it, that changes us too. We are a product of culture, our wiring, the memetics we are exposed to, the chemistry we bathe our bodies with from our food and pharma, and the conventions we accept and reject.

What if Google has decided that G+ is a game preserve for "true believers?" Is there a place for the rest of us? Is it diaspora? It certainly isn't Facebook. What could we do to make Google money? What could we do to make money for a company that could give us a place for the meeting of our like minds. Because obviously, Google doesn't think there's money in it.

We are every wave of the future. We are the young, the technical, the adaptive, the makers, the innovators, the peacemakers, the articulate, the pronoid, the hopeful. We're also the people who want everything free both as in beer and free as in freedom. But we are the people who fund the Awesome Foundation and Kickstarter, and sweat in startups, and talk VCs out of millions to do amazing things.

If Google doesn't want our money, someone does. Maybe we should stop fighting, and go create our own amazing place to be.

Besides, Google's overlooked a fatal flaw. They'll never get the true believers to move off Facebook. Facebook's got them locked up. The Google execs don't empathize with the true believers either. They don't understand we were the only ones aching to move.
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