Following Facebook Down The Wrong Path

Cory Doctorow has written a fantastic post on the subject of online identities and the forced use of real names in Google+.  I've been blogging a fair bit on this topic lately. I'm annoyed that Google has adopted such a wrongheaded approach to identity in Google+ and I've been having a hard time articulating why. Fortunely there are others who are saying what I am feeling. Cory nails it with these closing paragraphs:

The first duty of social software is to improve its users' social experience. Facebook's longstanding demand that its users should only have one identity is either a toweringly arrogant willingness to harm people's social experience in service to doctrine; or it is a miniature figleaf covering a huge, throbbing passion for making it easier to sell our identities to advertisers.

Google has adopted the Facebook doctrine at the very moment in which the figleaf slipped, when people all over the world are noticing that remaking ancient patterns of social interaction to conform to advertising-driven dogma exposes you to everything from humiliation at school to torture in the cells of a Middle Eastern despot. There could be no stupider moment for Google to subscribe to the gospel of Zuckerberg, and there is no better time for Google to show us an alternative.

Our community here at AVC welcomes real names, pseudonyms, and anonyms. And we have one of the most civil and intelligent communities on the world wide web. If anyone wants to understand identity and social software, I suggest they spend some time hanging out with the AVC community. They could learn a lot.