Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Pseuds - Evil Anti-Socialities or Wise, Careful Individuals?

Some thoughts on the Pseuds, one from Sarah in Tampa:

Even years after the "dooce" incident, sites like EFF were still recommending that the "best way to blog and still preserve some privacy is to do it anonymously," and provided tips on how to do so. This led to a rash of anonymous bloggers, who shared personal details of their lives, work, and relationships online, making friends with other anonymous bloggers who did the same....

But then, as Web 2.0 took root...Web 2.0 was all about personalization - adding your unique voice to the community as a whole, where everyone benefited from these individual actions. It became harder to hide your individuality when services like online bookmarking exposed what you thought was interesting, networks like MySpace and Facebook let you share your personal interests and hobbies, and sites like flickr let upload your personal photos. People began connecting, and those connections felt almost if not equally genuine as connections that were had in the "real" world.

And yet, even today, as Web 2.0 morphs into "social media," the fact remains that people are still withholding information about their "true" selves.

ha3rvey, without comment, shared the EFF page on anonymity.

However, Shel Israel has a different perspective from the EFF on anonymity:

If I do not know who you are, or what you look like, or where you are coming from I will not follow you.

Now by any stretch of the imagination, I am not an anonymous blogger under these guidelines. Yet there are some definitions of anonymity that consider me to be anonymous. Voyagerfan5761 started an interesting discussion on that topic:

I can't understand why Web services are so hung up on getting my name in "First Last" format. Why can't I just register as "Voyagerfan5761"?

Note that by this definition, Jon Swift would have no problem registering. (Nor do I; in such a situation, I use "Ontario" as my first name.)

Mark Trapp stated his views on the matter:

Providing a full name adds definite weight to your identity. And I agree with you: possible248 and i80and are equally unaccountable without names attached.

I replied:

I've been dealing with this for 10 years, and while I accept that some sites insist on some type of "real" identification, I also accept that I will probably not use those sites. And neither will Madonna.

Interestingly enough, the only person with a "real" name who participated in that conversation was Trapp. In addition to Voyager5761 and Ontario Emperor, the other participants were Cyvros/fyc and edythe. And, while Trapp makes his name readily available, his FriendFeed and Adocu name is "itafroma."

P.S. Adocu's explanation of the service uses more than one word. It uses (at least) 15 words. But 14 of them are spelled properly.

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