Google+ took only 24 days to reach 20 million users but their decision to delete accounts without real names attached has caused anger. So why do social networks insist on your real name?
Many people choose to conceal or alter their identity online.
Visit many forums and you'll see the likes of "Jboy72" and "NYgirl" outnumbering those giving their real names. But it's something social networks really don't like.
Over the past few days, Google has enforced its policy for requiring a real name on its new social network Google+ by suspending accounts.
The affected users were not happy at all. Blogger GrrlScientist, who prefers her real-life identity to remain private, thinks the decision to delete her account was "gormless".
5:44 pm on Jul 28, 2011 (gmt 0)
I think it's done for financial reasons. As with FaceBook they need to provide metrics to advertisers before they will put cash on the table.
5:52 pm on Jul 28, 2011 (gmt 0)
So what do you do when multiple people have the same name (like John Smith)? Only one of them gets to have an account?
6:00 pm on Jul 28, 2011 (gmt 0)
lol LifeInAsia, sometimes the most simple things make us stop in our tracks and say hmmmmm, good point, that post is one.
6:10 pm on Jul 28, 2011 (gmt 0)
Say bye-bye to the service. People won't use it online if it's not relatively anonymous. And the only benefit to real names is to Google, not the user - and the users know this.
I once worked on a forum in a professional industry that crushed long established forums. One of the advantages we used was anonymous postings. Even when commenting on professional matters people didn't want their real information used. For example it allowed them to discuss pricing and product design in generic terms, without any of 'Oh, that's Bob from our competitor, handing out advice to Sally at another company'.
6:30 pm on Jul 28, 2011 (gmt 0)
Aside from two John Smiths, there's also the problem with celebs. William Shatner had his G+ account shut down on suspicion that someone was registering it as a "fake name". So it appears celebs may have to go through considerable hassle and scrutiny to get a G+ account (not to mention the hassle of exposure). Bad news.
10:05 pm on Jul 28, 2011 (gmt 0)
How do they know it's your real name? I am not prepared to believe they make like newspaper editors and telephone you in person to verify that your roommates know you by that name.
Maybe they don't want your real name at all. Maybe they just want users who don't realize they can make up any old name, so long as it's orthographically plausible, and say it's theirs.* There are advantages to restricting membership to people who are dim-witted, trusting, or law-abiding. Or all three.
* My real name, for example, is Zainab Yaqub. Go on. Prove that it isn't.
8:51 pm on Jul 29, 2011 (gmt 0)
I forecast a rush on video of old Monty Python episodes... they were full of great names, sometimes with dozens of middle names that took ten minutes to recite.
Yours truly, Dinsdale Hedgehog, aka Stoatgobbler John Raw Vegetable (whinnying) Arthur Norman Michael
9:00 pm on Jul 29, 2011 (gmt 0)
Some screen names are made to fit the allowed characters or easier to pronounce.
My Twitter ID fullscale4me could be a shortening of Fuller Scaleforme from Italy - but it's not. For the curious, its a declaration of preference in one of my niches.