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16 November 2011 @ 05:44 am
True Names and True Selves  
In a response to my post about the Doctrine of "Real" Names, araquan provided the following insight from a Charlie Rose interview with Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg:

Facebook COO Sandberg talked about the power of relationship-based networks, contrasting "the wisdom of crowds to the wisdom of friends."

"So that's Google versus Facebook right there," Rose replied.

Sandberg didn't agree. She thinks the entire first phase of the Web's development -- which led to "a lot of wonderful things" -- was largely based on "anonymity and links between crowds."

The next stage of development, the one Facebook has spearheaded, is built around identity. "The social Web can't exist until you are your real self online," Sandberg said. "I have to be me, you have to be Charlie Rose."

The logical fallacy, of course, is the conflation of "real self" with "legal name". You can't be your "real self" if you're always wondering, "what would my family think of this? What if my boss Googles me?"

I am my "real self" online, and my "social Web" is woven among those who know me as "Athelind" and "Your Obedient Serpent".

That other name?

That's not my "real self", Ms. Sandberg.

That's my banking information, and I know why you want it.

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A random lazy cat: Eat Babies.twentythoughts on November 16th, 2011 02:59 pm (UTC)
If the social web can't exist without everybody knowing everybody's name in every situation, I wonder what Sandberg thinks about going out to a shady, fetishy nightclub and proceeding to give everyone there plus everyone on the way there her full name and address, as well as a recording of everything she did that night. And then allow her mom and boss to access that footage.
Your Obedient Serpent: outrageathelind on November 16th, 2011 09:17 pm (UTC)
I tend to think of it in terms of "Twittering your bowel movements", but the principle is not dissimilar.
Drakedrakegrey on November 16th, 2011 10:14 pm (UTC)
That's very well said and, while I know little if anything about Sandberg, I feel it's a good example of the problem facing us with online social networks and related technology in general. It's designed and managed by people who utterly understand and totally love the 'technical sweetness' of something, but who cannot comprehend the social consequences of these things in the real world.
Paka: pied crowpaka on November 16th, 2011 07:31 pm (UTC)
Going for the most vanilla aspects of self possible - my "real self" would rather eventually be a full time artist, likes model trains and Occupy Wall Street, and doesn't give a crap about football. If I had to have an identity for REAL NAME which could freely be searched by anyone who wants to hire me, or anyone who beat the fuck out of me in high school, you can bet money it would not be a fair representation of who I really am. Their argument is completely fallacious as always, which is I guess to be expected over people who are basically trying to make an excuse to reduce my online presence to a conveniently tracked marketing demographic.
Araquan Skytracer: Computer stupidityaraquan on November 16th, 2011 09:31 pm (UTC)
Yeah, the two are only the same for folks who either A) have no qualms whatsoever about posting the most embarrassing details of their activities for all to see, or B) don't feel they have any embarrassing details/activities worth concealing. There may of course be overlap between the two. But everyone else (the vast majority) will self-censor to at least some degree, so even what you see under their real name will be, at best, a particular subset of the real "them".

Of course, provided what's there is accurate (which may or may not be true) that's still useful for marketing purposes, if it's associated with some kind of real-world point of reference.
Drake: Four-Eyesdrakegrey on November 16th, 2011 10:19 pm (UTC)
You know, funny thing is, I've been pondering of late how many of my friends (especially in the furry fandom) seem to have turned into Internet exhibitionists. They post EVERYTHING at the LiveJournal or Facebook - personal photos, addresses, phone numbers and the like.

And then look really surprised, when they start having stalker problems.

As it stands now, even with 'being anonymous' online there's all sorts of potential for problems; I keep hearing all sorts of Facebook horror stories about oh NOES my boss saw THOSE pictures... it seems like if nothing else a lot of education and PSAs are needed before we start going gung ho on using our real names online, full time.
The Mystery of the Supranational Rabbit: Elevator Angelsporsupah on November 16th, 2011 09:36 pm (UTC)
The part I find most insidious, however, is Google's stated intent to link all your postings and all your identities together - thereby rendering any alter egos or pseudonyms effectively worthless, other than as a secondary tag.
one in a billionsiege on November 18th, 2011 08:27 pm (UTC)
Stated and practiced. They did this with YouTube a while back, as part of "integrating" it with their other services. Not that they needed to, frankly; but they did it anyway, arguing data simplification and storage issues, which makes sense... but not enough sense for me.

Google doesn't have fucking storage issues. They have these rail cars which are deployable data centers ready to drop in the middle of nowhere and plug into existing fiber connections, and they ignore dead drives in the racks for months or years, while still continuously boosting Gmail storage for everyone. While the searchable Web grows exponentially and they index and re-index powers of ten of it every day.

One might have wondered what the real excuse was, but now they've gone and spilled those beans.
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Drake: Bright As Daydrakegrey on November 16th, 2011 11:22 pm (UTC)
I think I will play a bit of devil's advocate, on this one. I try not to as that usually gets me into trouble but, what the heck. I'm in one of my 'Paint It Black' moods anyways, as you might have noticed.

On the one hoof I agree with you totally. Sandberg's response is about as smarmy and especially, as creepy as it can get - oh, you can't be SOCIAL unless you're the real you, Number Six. You don't want to be... UNSOCIAL, do you?

And your prognosis is dead on: her 'social web doesn't exist without real selves' is a lame ass smokescreen. As I noted previously to another here in this post, Sandberg doesn't KNOW from social, she's just a beancounter and a nerd. She has no idea what she's talking about and has a sound byte that was written by someone else, to advance her cause and get her yo' moneys. Nothing more.

But on the other hoof -

We've seen what we've wrought, with the ability to essentially be someone who isn't you and totally anonymous. Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory certainly is part of that statement; that MySpace suicide of a few years ago, where a teen girl killed herself because, in brief, a bored housewife pretended to be a teen boy and became her boyfriend and then dumped her, that's part of it too.

Then there's those underaged users at Furaffinity, who are browsing and marking as favorites explicit, adult art. That's part of that statement, too.

So while I'm not willing to sign an affidavit and provide my SSN# every time I want to comment, 'what an informative, great article!' at ABCNews.com -

I'm still, never the less, kind of wondering how much longer this anonymous Land Of Do As You Will we created online can persist.