I’ve been meaning to write a quick blurb on the issue of internet personas. I always intended for most of my internet activities to be under a moniker. I had no desire to put my full name out there in front of either my blog posts, or any place on the internet where I wanted to publicly express a thought. I didn’t mind sharing TMI as long as I wasn’t used my full name. I didn’t mind offering blunt opinions here or elsewhere.
At some point, people all across the internet decided they didn’t mind sharing things publicly under their name. Well, they minded, but they put the blame on the websites, like Facebook, when they felt their privacy was violated. Others shy away from any significant self-expression, with the refrain, “I assume everything I post to the internet is public”.
I’ve always maintained that you don’t have to put your identity out there with your internet activities. I’ve been one of the last holdouts, it seems. And now Google wants to take my Youtube account from Toastie and tell the world who’s really behind it.
They are giving me the option, but, really, they want you to integrate your whole life with your Google+ account, and they want your “brand” to be your real identity. I suppose advertisers can’t target “Toastie” as well as they can target “David _____” who lives at this address in Durham, NC and is a registered Democrat, and acknowledges liking Air Supply, Downton Abbey, and dogs. (Not that I’ve ever been marketed to as an Air Supply listener. Whatever you listen to on VEVO, they will still try to force Nicki Minaj upon you).
Well, no thanks. I don’t make public posts on Facebook or Google+. I don’t put my name on my Flickr account. I don’t use my name on this blog (I can’t do anything about it if others have used my name and this blog in the same link somewhere). I don’t comment anywhere on the internet using my name. I don’t put my name on my Twitter account. (@toastie’s full name is just “Toastie”.) So I’m not going to do it with YouTube either.
I’m obviously frustrated that Google is even asking me.
I’m not writing an essay here. Just thoughts off the top of my head. And I hate that I even have to put that caveat in here. I DON’T want to watch every single fucking word I use on this blog or anywhere on the internet. (Let me Google this guy David _____; ah, I see, look at the limited range of his vocabulary. Not a very articulate guy). Or analyze whether or not I really want to publicly associate a YouTube video with my name. (I want to hire this guy, but, did you see some his YouTube videos?)
I suppose I can sum up (my “blurb”) by acknowledging that I am frustrated with the path that the internet has taken. I liked it when it was expected that you would use a pseudonym on the internet. Only public figures made their identities public. Many people would only ever know you by your pseudonym. You decided who among your acquaintances got to learn about your pseudonym. Now, everyone chooses to be a public figure. And I wonder, why would you do that?
I know most of this is nonsensical, and I hate that I even have to worry about that. If I could merely be “Toastie”, I wouldn’t.