Who am I talking to?
Is it your right to be anonymous online? Google+ doesn’t think so.
Anonymity online is a sensitive subject. In my view anonymity allows people to take actions without any sense of consequences or responsibility, generally never a good thing.
Online you never know who you are really dealing with unless you know the person offline. Google+ has started to roll out a verification program for their users and I for one am glad. LinkedIn is hugely successful and a great model for knowing who you are talking to.
I understand that sometimes remaining anonymous can be life or death. Where regimes control countries where democracy is just a dream being verified could be a death sentence.
There is no right answer. Anarchy or verification is perhaps over dramatic, but as people we gravitate towards “people like us” so perhaps having different social channels for people who think in the same way isn’t a bad thing. Remember forums and newsgroups?
Social Media is in its infancy; 5 years ago it barely existed. Perhaps we are seeing Social Media mature. Nothing can be all things to all people and as we grow as human beings different beliefs and needs will take us down different paths. If you need to be anonymous don’t use Google+, there are lots of other choices.
It might be that Google decide to allow non verified Google+ users (as is the case at the moment) but the fact that the user is not verified (doesn’t have a verification icon) gives others the choice as to whether they allow them into their circles.
It’s VERY early days for Google+ and they are many years behind Facebook so let’s see how they develop this service.
To find out more about Google+ verification watch this short video by Wen-Ai Yu of the Google+ team.