And you are? – Identity in the digital age: Me
Online identity means a lot to me. I’ve thought about how to approach it frequently, and thanks to two blog posts I’ve read, I’m talking about it. Simply put, why do we approach our online identity in different ways?
Some people go the route of total anonymity for whatever reason, while others fully embrace their digital self being the same as their “real world” self. As for me, I started as the former but gradually migrated to the latter.
A little background on me: I’m a music education major working on my last year of school. Something that’s been stressed to me since forever (at least high school) is that you’ve got to have a clean record. No, not just criminally, but online as well. I’m sure this is something everyone is aware of, as people losing their job because of a misplaced Facebook photo tend to get great media coverage.
It seemed especially important, wanting to go into education, that I made the right moves. People already aren’t fond of
the overpaid, underworked, lazy, tenured teachers (separate rant, I digress), so I figured keeping a squeaky clean record couldn’t hurt. At least it doesn’t give parents or administrators extra ammunition to try and remove you.
For a long time (think, up until last April, right about the time I started writing for Android Central), I was incredibly aware of my online presence. I stayed low-key, used a single pseudonym, and made sure I
never very rarely said anything inflammatory, lest it could get traced back to me. I worked hard to have no online identity, Googled my name to see what would come up, and tried to have as small a footprint as possible.
The plan worked. As far as online searches were concerned, I didn’t really exist. I was pretty ok with that, because it meant I wasn’t jeopardizing future job chances and stuff. But then I started wondering, what if I did the exact opposite of what I’d been doing? What if I totally embraced online media, a social identity, and had it be who I really am?
This way I could control the flow of information coming out of my camp, I wouldn’t have to worry about some other fool with my name mucking up search results, and I could tailor my image as I saw fit. On total impulse, I bought this domain name for $4.99 and began my experiment.
Right around that time, I also started writing for Android Central. This accelerated everything a bit because I was writing for a high-traffic website using my real name. Writing for Android Central actually forced my hand a bit, because it made me commit to using my real name on the internet. No pretend name, no alias, no pseudonym. It was out there for everyone to see (and will probably remain in Google’s cache for a long, long time).
Because of writing, I started using Twitter. My username there, @joshmunoz, is my real name. Granted, it’s not my full name, but that’s because @joshuamunoz was taken. Initially, I didn’t tweet often, but in the past month or so, I’ve picked up. Do I say anything bad? Of course not. Usually it’s just banter about Android or talking with someone I don’t normally have access to.
Soon after Twitter, I got invited to Google+. I already use my real name on my Google profile, so TOS issues skipped me right over. Again, because of my position at Android Central, lots of people added me. It’s awesome because there’s always people to engage with in dialogue, but at the same time, I always need to be mindful of what I’m saying. To interact with those folks means my posts are public, and if they’re public, anyone can see them.
Now I’m on all sorts of different social networks. Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, even Foursquare. I’ve linked my Gravatar profile to my Disqus profile and have my WordPress site on both. I even put up Gowalla, just for kicks.
I sometimes wonder if this could backfire on me and will put me in the exact situation I’m trying to prevent. I’m definitely out there now. On Klout, I finally hit a score of 50. Google my name and (as of this writing) six of the 10 links on the first page are about me. The top link is my LinkedIn profile. Two out of the four images are me, too.
I think it’s to my benefit, though. Nothing out there is bad. I’m still especially mindful of what I say, even more now that my name isn’t hidden behind the digital curtain.
I heard someone talk about the “Friend, Mother, Boss” rule and if you follow that with your alternate identity, you should be fine. I definitely subscribe to that (and even censor myself some) when I’m posting on Google+ or Twitter. The way I see it, if there’s something crass I’d say to friends, I might as well just text them instead of broadcasting it for the whole world.
The internet is public space, in my opinion, and I treat it like such. That being said, I’ve found embracing my identity online to be both liberating and fun. It’s nice to control who I am, no matter where my name happens to be. I know some people aren’t afforded that luxury.
To the Anons out there, the next one’s for you.
Google + Motorola Part 2: Wild Speculation Edition
Alright, I know I promised the Google/Motorola post would be up by Tuesday, so I kind of dropped the ball. My bad! Anyway, I’ll just jump right into it.
Some of this is sheer speculation on my part (that others ended up bringing up, as well) and some of it comes from a post about the whole Nortel patent thing. Looking at the Google/Motorola acquisition, three big points comes to mind.
1.) Google had this planned out way in advance, and played the fool on the Nortel bids to drive up the price
This isn’t really my thought at all, but it bears repeating. For the original post about it, see RealDan’s blog. In a nutshell, Dan purports that Google bid those crazy prices (Brun’s constant, Meissel-Mertens constant, and pi) to artificially drive up the price of the Nortel patents and force the consortium to overpay.
Did Google ever plan on winning? Maybe. But the group of people working against them (of which Apple and Microsoft are leading the charge) wanted to keep Google’s pockets empty, and they knew that. So ever higher the price went.
Dan’s evidence for his speculation? The idea that you just don’t pull big, $12.5 billion mergers together overnight. He says all signs point to Google and Motorola working this out for a while, maybe even before Google went into the Nortel bidding process.
If that’s true, Google knew they were going to be getting some patents regardless, so even if they did win the Nortel bid, they’d just have more patents to protect themselves with. Google wins no matter what, and, having lost the Nortel bid, gets to laugh all the way to their patent-filled fortress at the idea they drove the price up so much.
2.) Motorola Mobility makes set-top boxes, and thus Google has an easy way to raise Google TV adoption
If this is totally off-base, let me know, ASAP. I actually started off by asking on Google+ if Motorola Mobility makes the set-top boxes or if the other company does.
From what I gathered, that’s still MMI, and if Moto Mobility somehow works the Google TV stuff into their set-top boxes (and therefore removed the need for a separate box), that’d be awesome. I’m not very inclined to know what they’d have to do to make that happen, but it would certainly put Google in a powerful position in the home.
Granted, you’d have to then start bundling some of those ridiculous controller/keyboard contraptions with every new box, plus you’d need to include some instructions, but the cost-to-benefit ratio seems off the charts.
3.) Google wants to go the Apple route by controlling the hardware and the software
I have a hard time believing this one, but between Google actually buying out Motorola Mobility and Cyanogen getting hired by Samsung, I guess anything can happen.
Some people have speculated that Google wants to try and cut down on the number of mediocre Android devices on the market by controlling the hardware and software, which starts with Motorola. But making sure the hardware is always top-notch and runs the software without issue, Google could effectively cut out some of the fragmentation people are always QQ’ing about, but at the cost of alienating their other partners.
I don’t see this being the case because it would make all of the “they’re going to still run mostly independently” thing a sham, and I’m not sure Google would want to risk that sort of negative PR with the public, outright lying and all.
Some folks have also speculated Google wants to try and beat Apple at their own game by first clamping down on fragmentation, then building up a series of Google-branded stores where they sell their special Google merchandise exclusively (I assume phones, tablets, and Chromebooks would all make the cut). I don’t see it happening and I’ll leave it at that.
4.) Google is looking to protect Android… from Motorola?
This one is the most out there, and I definitely cooked it up myself. I’ll admit, I’m pretty sure it’s insane and not accurate, but after seeing an article suggesting Motorola (Mobility) might charge licensing fees to other Android manufacturers, it remains a slim possibility.
Obviously Google is looking to acquire patents, and rightly so, with all the patent trolls running around all willy-nilly. Would the Big G end up paying $12.5 billion just to keep Moto from hurting Android’s other OEMs? Probably not.
But what about getting the patents plus the added bonus of keeping Moto from putting even more hurt on the other OEMs? Maybe. I still think it’s probably the weakest of the four points, (yes, even weaker than the Google Store idea), but even if it wasn’t Google’s intention, they’ve inadvertently prevented Motorola from doing that anyway.
Everyone seems so excited (that is, other OEMs) about Google’s “commitment to defending Android,” and while that mostly seems like canned responses from everyone (because they are), could Google be protecting everyone else from more licensing fees?
So there you have it. Wild speculation from not only myself, but some of the other
tin-hat wearers progressive thinkers (ha!) out there.
Agree? Disagree? Sound off.
Google + Motorola: The shot heard round the (tech) world
If you’re reading this, you’re probably as surprised as I am. (Here’s a hint: Google + Motorola.) I woke up to use the restroom this morn and I was greeted with my Gmail inbox blowing up over the fact that Motorola Mobility was just bought out by Google. With the little information we’ve got, it’s time to speculate just what this could me for Motorola, Google (and by extension, Android), and the end result for the consumer.
Let’s start with what we know for sure: Google is acquiring Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion dollars. This is significant for two reasons, one of which is Google is now in the hardware business, but more on that later.
Motorola Mobility has an extensive patent portfolio, something most of the other Android OEM’s (and Google, as well), don’t have. As a result, Moto was keenly poised to protect themselves from the onslaught of litigation surrounding every Android candybar and tablet released, and at one point, sounded like they were going to charge licensing fees to other Android OEM’s, too.
That might have made sense for Moto, as their newest phones (the Photon 4G and the Droid 3) weren’t moving units like HTC’s and Samsung’s latest stuff, but would have ended up hurting the Android ecosystem much worse than all of the lawsuits from our least favorite fruit-themed company.
With this acquisition, Google now owns the patent portfolio, and you can be sure they don’t plan to charge fees to other Android manufacturers. If their aim is to truly “supercharge Android,” stifling other companies with fees wouldn’t be the way to do it. I’d bet money, however, that Google won’t be afraid to use this newfound patent muscle to toss a more protective umbrella over all companies working with Android.
And speaking of Android, let’s not forget that Moto makes hardware, so now Google does, too. Google has always been quick to point out that they don’t do hardware, they just closely oversee things, but that’s done now. Even if Moto Mobility still runs largely as its own entity, Google is calling those shots, now.
How will that translate into phones for us, though? Hopefully it means a little bit better hardware design along with a new, improved UI. Phones like the Atrix (and it’s sibling, the Photon 4G) have been largely critcized for their unique design, with people asking where the smooth, rounded corners are. In a world of HTC, Samsung, and, dare I say it, Apple, the end consumer is fairly trained in what they think ”good” design is.
The one caveat to this is the (true) Droid line of phones. They were marketed as intense, hardcore, manly, cold, calculating pieces of awesome. Their design reflected that, with less-than-round corners and a sliding keyboard. With a fairly unchanged design even though the Droid 3, I doubt we’d see dramatic change for that line in particular.
For everything else, though, maybe Google will guide some creative decisions, eschewing the less mainstream designs to help Motorola actually move some product.
And what about
Blur the UI formerly known as Blur? If I were to guess, I’d assume Google phases it out, if they don’t axe it suddenly and completely. On more than one occasion, Matias Duarte has mentioned how hard they’ve worked to make the vanilla Android experience so good people don’t need skins/UI over top of it, and now that Google is in the driver seat, perhaps it’ll finally be so.
And what about everyone’s favorite rumormill phone, the Nexus Prime? We know for a fact that Google has opted to use the TI OMAP 4 series to be the reference processor for Ice Cream Sandwich. The TI OMAP 4430 is already in the Droid 3 and the upcoming Droid Bionic. Could this deal help Motorola secure (or foreshadow) the inevitable Nexus Prime?
Maybe so. We know Motorola already has experience with the TI OMAP 4 (as does LG), and they haven’t manufactured a Nexus phone yet. OEM’s
usually always have to capitulate to Google’s demands when they make a Nexus, so doesn’t it make sense that Google does their own Nexus, in-house?
Some of the rumors out in the interwebs would suggest that either Motorola or LG is/was making the latest Nexus, so with 50/50 odds coupled with this latest purchase, I wouldn’t be surprised to see MotoGoog end up being the Prime’s creator. Let’s just hope they drop the Pentile Matrix screen.
This is a huge move for Google and Motorola alike, and has huge ramifications for Android and the whole smartphone ecosystem over. With Google now in charge of hardware, they can start making some incredible (and hopefully stock) Android phones. With the war chest of patents Motorola Mobility owned, they can finally (and truly!) protect their OEM partners against
Apple general patent trolls.
Just look at the outpouring of support from the other Android heads of state.
And this goes farther than just Android, too. Anyone remember WebM?
Motorola owned Google owns a bunch of H.264 patents now, too.
Now things are going to get interesting.
Senseless ROM 1.1 for EVO 3D review
Alrighty, folks. For the betterment of mankind, I’ve relocated this post to Android Central, so it might reach a wider (and more appreciative) audience.
The article can be found here.
Return to Facebook, stuck on Google+, and what is Klout?
I swear, July is just one of those months. It’s long, everyone gets really busy, the temperatures are horrible, and I don’t write. Sorry about that. Here’s the highlights from the past month:
My self-imposed exile from Facebook finally ended, and while I thought I’d be really excited, turns out it’s still one of the best decisions I’ve made. Facebook is noisy, bloated, and worst of all, ugly. I think I’ve only posted twice since I’ve returned. It really feels like a different experience.
Plus, Zuckerberg & Co. added this hideous monstrosity of a friend bar/instant feed thing. I’m not sure if all of you have seen it (I know for a fact it hadn’t gone into effect on my sister’s Facebook account), so here’s a link to it. (Normally I’d embed it in the post, but it’s just so damn tall, messes up all the formatting.)
What do we call that thing? FaceBar? FriendStreamThing? At any rate, I think it’s one of the worst ideas I’ve seen yet on Facebook, and that’s including Farmville.
The worst part about it? You can’t choose the people it selects for you to chat with. Using some proprietary
stalker learning algorithm based on who you interact with (I assume), you get some unchangeable, unyielding, and unsightly pseudo-chat bar coupled with an even more real-time streaming thing. It’s like Frankenstein 2.0.
I think that’s why I’m still so enamored with Google+. It’s clean, there’s some really nifty little Chrome extensions that make it even better (Usability Boost for Google Plus comes to mind), and I can talk to the people I want, when I want to.
Well, that’s not entirely true, because so many people still aren’t on it. I’m glad some of the people who’ve been invited have sort of integrated it into their social lives, but most people I know aren’t even on Google+ yet. This makes me sad for myself, because invites have been given the green light, and there’s lots of you who I think would totally dig it. I mean, hey, 10 million isn’t bad, but if I don’t really know 9.9999999 million of them, Google+ still isn’t as fun as it could be.
And maybe I’m a little late to the party, but has anyone heard of Klout? I first heard of it because someone sent me some link so they could score free Spotify invites, but on a hunch, decided to investigate further. As it turns out, these guys are apparently a big deal in the social media arena, aggregating your total number of connections on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Foursquare, and from that, they calculate your influence.
I couldn’t even begin to guess how they do it, but I know people Liking posts, re-tweeting Tweets, and other things like that end up making you look “more influential” to their search engine’s cold, unfeeling eyes. There’s a number of categories you get labeled as, such as Socializer or Networker (both of which I’ve been in the two days I’ve been enrolled), as well as what I think is the most boss title ever, Thought Leader. Your Klout score goes up and down each day, and it’s supposed to give you an idea if you’re using social networking sites effectively.
Everyone has a Klout score (at least everyone who uses one of the social networking sites), so you’ve even got a number if you’re not signed up for the service. Signing up for Klout lets you hook up more social sites for it to poll, as well as opens up the opportunity of you being rewarded by companies with free stuff because they know you have sway over people. Wild, right?
Anyway, as you can no doubt tell from the image up top, my Klout score is 39.5 (half-point isn’t listed!), which tells me “You are effectively using social media to influence your network across a variety of topics.” My head’s still spinning, but I’ll take it.
Sorry for the long stretches between posts, I’ll try to be better about it. For you eagle-eyed readers, you also might have noticed the blog’s name change. More on that later.