Tuesday, July 26, 2011


I'm not one of the cool kids on Google+ so far, so technically it doesn't affect me, but if Google were to extend their policy to all Google products, like Blogger, YouTube, Gmail, etc that I use all the time, then I would have to stop using them all.  Why?  I need to be anonymous.  Right now, I work with kids.  Now, I have never even had the remotest stray thought of doing anything inappropriate with a child, and I'm sure none of their parents have anything but the utmost respect for the job I do with their kids.  In fact, most are quite friendly with me.  And yet, because it is still a fairly conservative place, I'm 99% certain that if I were known to be transsexual, I would no longer be able to coach in youth sports, at least not in this town.  Even worse, and I've blogged this just recently, it would also have an impact of how my friends and family may be perceived and potentially their employment or social structures would also be affected.

On the other hand, my anonymous (or more specifically, pseudonymous) online existence can't just be obliterated, because it provides me with a much needed emotional outlet and social support system that keeps me from going completely whacko sometimes.  I can talk about my deepest needs in an environment that is mostly accepting or empathetic, something I cannot do in my "real" life.  Eventually, I hope to live as one single female identity both online and offline, and maybe the need to use a pseudonym won't be as great, but there are still plenty of other very strong reasons to allow their usage from industrial whistleblowers to plitical dissidents (here and abroad), and many others.

I hope Google takes all this into account and eventually reconsiders their decision to require real identities on Google+ and does not extend that to other products.  It is really a matter of life-altering consequence to many of us.


  1. Facebook has the same "real indentity" approach, but enforces is arbitrarily. I actually had no idea it was a requirement until they deleted the account of a good friend for that very reason.

    Like yourself, I have too much to lose, and prefer to bring people into my circle of trust at my leisure . . . not some corporate mandate. This would definitely be a blow.

  2. There was actually an editorial on the downside of anonymity on the internet in The Guardian on Sunday (link below). However, I think that it is partially misinterpreted. Yes, it allows people to vent some horrendously vile commentary at other folks' blog posts, Youtube videos, etc, but most people who receive that (and most who dish it out) also understand it is exaggerated for effect. I'm not saying there aren't psychos out there, just not nearly as many as the FUD-ers want us to think.

    here's the editorial: