Google+ and me…

Google+ was always going to have an uphill struggle with me. I dropped Wave pretty much right after trying it out, I barely ever used or looked at Buzz beyond re-buzzing a blog post or two and when it comes to Facebook, well not only do I not facebook but I simply do not ‘get’ facebook. So when Google announced they would be opening G+ for beta you would not place me at the front of the queue for an invite, would you? Wrong! I was actually quite excited by the idea of Google+; partly because it sounded interesting and partly because I’m a Google kind of chap (not for me an Apple products and I’ve long since moved over to Google Docs for my writing and blogging). So I got in as HeadBurro Antfarm, populated it and quickly found that I wasn’t using it – it was just another facebook to me – just another “I don’t get it” thing so I deleted the phone app and haven’t looked at in months.

Until about two weeks ago I decided I should give it another go. I think I read about ir being out of Beta, maybe that tickled my fancy or something but whatever it was I turned back to the phone app and found it wouldn’t work. How odd. I went to the PC and there I found my account had been suspended due to name violation. Of course I’d read about the hoohah in Beta but quickly lost interest as G+ became irrelevant to me. It would appear the issue had not been resolved and now I had fallen victim to Google’s odd Big Brother-esque ruling. At first I wasn’t fussed. Big deal, thunk I, I don’t use it and probably never will. But then I noticed that they had suspended my profile too. That’s when I got riled.

I put in an appeal and in a week or so got a reply stating the G-men had looked at my case and found I was indeed guilty of being HeadBurro Antfarm, a name my mother had not given me when first I popped into the world, therefore they would not reverse their decision. I was welcome, they told me, to put my real name in the main name section and relegate HeadBurro Antfarm to the nicknames section meaning that both would be searchable. Now , none of you – NONE – know me by my real name. Well, maybe 3 or 4 of the TSMGO crowd do, but outside that NONE of you and no one who reads this blog* knows my real name so searching for my real name would be meaningless. And the thought that some of you could find my real name when searching for my actual name (I consider my actual name to be HeadBurro Antfarm, just not my real, birth name) makes my lower back all sweaty. I think it’s fear. I mean, I’m sure you are all a lovely bunch, it’s just I’m not going to put that to the test anytime soon, m’kay.

Now, I’m an easy going kind of guy so thought “Well, if I have to I have to. No biggie. Just as long as I can protect my real name, what harm is there? After all, Google know full well who I am, where I live and what my credit card number is as I’ve bought storage from them. I’ll do it as long as they let me ‘private’ my real name.” So I replied and asked if that would be an option.

It’s taken a few days for the reply to come through and it seems I can’t. I can not hide my real name if I fill in the profile as they want. But they did provide me with a workaround should I wish to use it.

I could (wait for it, it’s a doozie) put my real first name & just my last name initial in the name field. Brilliant! Genius! Now instead of being a unique HeadBurro Antfarm (a name I have held online for 5 years now) I can be just one of millions of “David B”s in the world. That, dear readers, is the thinking that got the Apollo 13 crew back to Earth, that is! That’s the kind of idea that makes the Dragon’s Den Dragons wet their pants with excitement! That’s the kind of clear, brilliant solution I’m used to expecting from an amazing organisation like Google.

Oh no, wait. No it isn’t.

It’s fucking daft is what it is.

So I won’t be using Google+, although I suspect they couldn’t care less if I do or don’t. On top of that I’ll be deleting my Google Profiles. All of them. I mean, what is the fucking point? I use Gmail, the calender, the RSS reader & Docs. I don’t share or like or +1, I just use these things for what I need. I blog with WordPress & keep my photos on Flickr. I imagine from Google’s point of view I’m a nothing to them.

* I don’t count my missus. she never reads this drivel.



  1. I went through the same experience last Summer.
    After all the process and the final verdict (“we can’t allow you to be Wildstar Beaumont”) I erased my Google+ account. For a few days the ecosystem was a bit of the mess, but after a while it reverted to the previous status (profile included)

    Now I live happily in the pre-Google+ Era

    1. I’m glad to hear that mate – it worried me when they said I couldn’t use the services that relied on my profiles, especially the Reader. But if nothing is affected I shall confine the whole sorry affair to history and continue to drool over the new Nexus phone… mmmm, nfc goodness…

  2. What was that mail I received this morning from google+ team saying about 6 people I might know on Google+ The first one being Headburro Antfarm That couldn’t have been you That must of been the real Headburro Antfarm You are obviously impersonating a real person You can not exist in the real world Maybe someone somewhere just imagined you did !!?!! 🙂

  3. I’ve replied to the Google team looking at the names stuff:


    Thank you for your reply and also for all the time you have spent looking into to this for me. On reflection I will not be updating my Google+ profile to include my real name (or real first name and last initial) as it seems to me to make no sense to favour “David B”, of which there must be millions worldwide and will mean exactly nothing, over “HeadBurro Antfarm”, of which there is only one and actually means something.

    I’ll delete my Google+ account and instead use my Gravatar Profile from now on – after all, Google is really just about email, isn’t it? Facebook have the social media side sewn up.

    Regards, HeadBurro Antfarm (i.e. me)

  4. Heh, G+ deleted – they wanted to know why I was leaving so I told them:

    I’m leaving for the simple fact that your naming policy will not let me have G+ profile for HeadBurro Antfarm and instead wants my real name made public to the web (never going to happen) or my real first name and last initial used instead of my long-used online name of HeadBurro Antfarm. As there will be millions of “David B”s in the world yet only one “HeadBuro Antfarm” I fail to see the logic and sense in this so I’m going to stick with gravatar for a more useful profile service.

  5. Crazy, isn’t it? Or short-sighted, at least. I’m happy to have a separate Gmail account under my, ah, other name, but I have no desire to link the two identities. It sounds as though a lot of others feel the same way. It’s hard to see the upside for Google in all this.

    1. Totally agree – what they have lost in me is a target for their advertising, which I’ve always understood was their actual business. If you multiply this through my active google accounts they’ve lost me not once but between two and four times over (HBA, DA, family account & any one of the several others I’ve created for SL RP). Cutting your targets out of your premier product seems like an odd way to go, but hey, I don’t have a Harvard MBA so what the fuck do I know? 😀

  6. Told ya so. Remember how we discussed that topic when you first sent me the invitation?
    This is utter stupidity from google. I mean… culling profiles because they’re linked to a virtual person instead of a real one is like cutting off the branch they’re sitting on.

    After all they have all the information they need and then some. They could easily establish a link between you RL self and Headburro, if they wanted to without having to make it visible to the whole world. If I was paranoid, I would even suspect they already do it without telling you.

  7. They’re stupid that way, but I guess they’ll eventually learn — sooner or later. On the other hand… I always disliked the idea of using too many google services at the same time. Be it my RL self or Shigeko, both utilize some parts of google, but use some services from other providers as well. Being able to use everything from the same provider is nice, sure — but some of Google’s offers aren’t exactly the best of what the market has to offer, and you should also consider the fact that by using everything from the same vendor, you will probably disclose more information to the world than you intend to do.

  8. yeah I like to have the RL me and the gaming/blogging me separate – so google+ is out for me too. There’s not really any difference between the two except that for people I know in ‘real life’ know where I live, my phone number etc, the people I know virtually… don’t 🙂

  9. Yeah these Google+ / Facebook admins are so full of it… and now they’re even trying to make ‘Real Name or GTFOff-my-planet’ a US Federal law with criminal penalties (SOPA)…

    Screw 1000-years of Anglo tradition in advancing the rights of people to be secure in their personal affairs (pretty much since 1066, its been the driving undercurrent of Common Law, that we all have a God-given hippie right to ‘be you and me’ – advanced very slowly, with a -LOT- of bloodshed, and a few revolutions, hangings, and beheadings… until finally we’ve arrived at a point were we can be who we define ourselves as)…

    But it irks Zuckerberg and his ilk -who want to be able to better target their ‘genital enlargement adverts’ at us, so GTFO with the free world, we peasants need to relearn our place. 😉

    Anyone notice how Facespam suspended Salman Rushdie, because well, that wasn’t the tag on his toe when he popped out of his mom…
    – oops.

    1. LOL! You make a damn good point! Let’s not forget though the deals Google did with China (even though they eventually pulled out). I should have known then that “Do No Evil” was something they had long abandoned.

  10. You mention Apollo 13 … but how about that Columbia Disaster. I’ll never forget this comment about why a rescue wasn’t considered, “There was zero we could do about it,” Dittemore said. It was known that the Russians had a rocket that might have been employeed in some type of rescue… that would have been more than zero. Off the topic a bit, you just brought this to mind.

    Sorry to hear of the issues with your profile, but I totally support your assumption that you should be able to protect your identity. I’ve been cyber stalked and I know the feeling.

  11. Well, I’ve never been the most Social computer person either, like you I don’t understand why people feel the need to tell everyone, every minute of their day. It is, and I shudder when saying this, a Generation thing.

    I strongly suspect that these Social Media sites will peak in about 7 to 10 years, then see a lot of drop-off, then they’ll be gone. I say this because the Generation that is supporting this “media” will eventually grow tired of sharing every little thing, not to mention they’ll start their career’s and find they don’t have the time like they did before. Social Media, like IRC, is Generation Bound and will eventually wind up where IRC and the other “Chat Rooms” have, rarely mentioned and rarely used, except by those in that Generation that have always used it.

    Now with all that said, I invite you to come see me in InWorldz, Bob Bunderfeld is my name there too, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find me 🙂

    1. Hi Bob, sorry to have missed this comment but work is a nightmare on the Xmas run up.

      I’d hate to see social networking pass away, I just want it to be more open & also more secure at the same time. I want to SN more as the online versions of ‘me’ but be in full control of what I share. So far I don’t see any system (of a big enough scale) other than twitter that does that and it’s telling that I tweet a fair bit. If only FB or G+ could learn and understand why maybe they would adopt the same mentality towards me that would lure me in.

      I ain’t holding my breath ;-D

  12. Yeah I sort of stumbled into having a G+ account as Dale Innis the other day, and now I am worried that if and when they notice it’s not my real name something bad might happen to my gmail and/or google reader accounts under that name. But I’m not sure if it would! Not only are they stupid for the whole “real names for gtfo” thing, they are also remarkable unclear about explaining what their policies actually are (both to the public and to their own employees, from what I’ve heard). Which is too bad! Thanks for posting your own story; data is good…

    1. I was worried about my wider access to google services too, but so far *touches some wood, goes blind* everything seems the same as pre-G+

      Half of me still wants in on G+, the other half just wants to keep gmail and my calendar 😀

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