Secrets of Nym…

I’m gonna miss my Google+ account when they take it away from me, as must surely happen any minute now.

Not because I paid anything for it — like all social networking media to date, G+ relies more on selling me to advertisers than on selling stuff to me — and not because I get much from it. I’ll miss Google+ because, like a few million other naifs, I bought into the G-spot dream of not being evil whilst punching a cynical boy billionaire square in his bizarrely cupidic lips. Alas, ’tis not to be…

My nym is Jack Lewis, and it has been for quite a while. Ever since the third grade, actually, when I insisted on an upgrade from “Jackie.”  Grandma never quite got with the Jackie 2.0 program, but pretty much everyone else has called me Jack since then.

I like “Jack” just fine. It’s a simple, four-letter word ending in “ck;” easy to spell, scream (ask me dear aulde mum, or wives 1.0-1.1) or to work into a simple, punchy graffito. It’s on my bylines, books, and bank accounts. Those bank accounts also have my much more magnificently polynymic, and nobly suffixed, actual legal handle, but I’ve sworn not to sign that whole long name until the checks I’m endorsing become much, much bigger.

“Jack” may not be a grand name, but it’s honest. It’s good and solid. It was stitched onto my dad’s work shirts when I was little, and I remember how much I wanted to grow into it one day (still workin’ on that). I’ve written it onto thousands of school papers without incurring demerits thereby. I went by “Jack” in the army, in college and at every civilian sector job I’ve held. More than my legal name, “Jack” is my real name.

If you know me at all, you know me as Jack.

Google doesn’t like it, though. Lately determined to own the market in “identity services,” Google is Hell-bent and glory-bound to guarantee every netizen’s legal accountability to  governments and fiduciary accountability to corporate G-clients. No nyms allowed!

Steps they’ve taken to ensure the reality of names chosen for G+ accounts include cancelling accounts with names that sound odd… including foreign names. Not to worry, though — all you need to do to have your account reinstated is send in a copy of your driver’s license or birth certificate. Once your online identity is robustly correlated to your legal identity, you’re good to go!

There are solid reasons not to want your actual underwear hanging on the line in front of your virtual house. They might include your stalker ex; or perhaps you’re fond of delicious little forays into seditious speech that would be frowned on by the rulers of your particular sandbox; maybe your manly visage at work becomes a bit… frillier… online.

Or maybe you’re quite famous. I’m fairly certain the biggest, baddest Black Eyed Pea doesn’t have “” written on his birth certificate or driver’s license, but it’s William James Adams, Jr.’s identity on Google+. How did he slip it get past Google’s “real names” algorithm?” I’ve no idea. Perhaps the same way Google executives such as Vic Gundotra did: by acting as poster boys for Google+ in a highly touted interview on the future of social media. Big boys write the rules; little people follow them and megastars do what they want.

As neither a star nor a victim nor a double-secret probationary, I have no such reasons. I just go by “Jack.” That’s who I am, so far as you know.  Or Google.

It’s been adorable watching your first wobbling steps, G+, but you haven’t really grown up into someone with whom I’m proud to associate. You don’t let me go where I want, and I have to tell you everything about all my associates… come to think of it, our relationship seems rather classically abusive. You offer me the world, but you twist my arm if I offend you. I’m kind of ashamed to have put up with you this long, but I kept hoping it would get better…

It won’t. I understand your identity now. You want me to change, but you won’t change for me.

Sometimes, it’s like I don’t even know you.


  1. What I think you’ve discovered – I know I have – is that when the Eric Schmidts and the Marc Zuckerbergs of the world get abusive, you have to abuse them back. Use their networks to spread your message – and lure eyeballs away from their sites to yours. You just did that with me, and I went willingly. Deliberately, flagrantly rip the freedom they’re trying to take from their greasy paws and wave it in front of their faces like a red flag, daring them to charge…. and get your friends to do likewise. They can’t get us all without destroying their profits, and the corporate sociopath is duty-bound and hell-bent-for-leather about profits; it is the only reason it exists.

    There are more of us than there are of them. We have only to get past our fear and go neener neener neener in their faces *en masse*… and the bullies will back down. They may not *admit* to it, but they will. They’ll have to. Or we’ll take our eyeballs and go home, and leave them with nothing.

  2. I agree with your post, and am feeling the same. So I have a last name that is not in English. So I translated it, now it is my Real Name for all things goggly. My real real name still there if you go back in time on my profile.

    So that’s the compromise I am making. Unilaterally.

    – temporarily pseudonymous.

  3. Does everyone get this governmental paranoia along with schizophrenia from their cat?

  4. Ormond, have you confused Google with the government?

    An understandable error, but (as I hope I’m not the first to tell you) they’re MUCH more powerful than the government.

    Except G+. G+ is like the cloutless undersecretary of some deeply obscure bureau, buried in a sub-basement in the low-rent section of Duluth.

  5. Jack,
    The answer is NMI, not nym. Many of us aging GI’s remember the clerk that couldn’t sleep unless he filled out all the blocks, every time. No middle initial? Poof,it’s now NMI.
    And a hearty finger to all of those who claimed they knew what we should do. And did it to us.

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