Helloform | Real names and social networks

Real names and social networks

Posted on Aug 8, 2011

A few weeks ago I had a discussion on twitter about anonymity in social networks. I was defending the need for real names, because I believe that a social network like Facebook or Google+ benefits from identity - knowing people are who they say they are.

A couple of days ago, however, I read Danah Boyd’s take on it, and it actually made me change my mind on the issue. I suggest you read it too - it’s a good piece and points out several real, actual, reasons why it is a good idea to allow pseudonyms into social networks. The same imperfect world that makes me want to know who’s behind social networking profiles or syndicated comments also means that there’s people who would put themselves at risk by using their actual identity in a social networking context.