Pownce: Social Networks aren’t Identity Networks

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Interesting. Someone just told me that I was on Pownce – which is odd, because I never signed up for an account. Lo and behold, here “I” am. I’m not terribly upset about it at this point, but that’s pretty much my identity – and the people following “me” may not know that that’s “me” or have no idea who I really am. This is indicative of the problems all these stupid-ass social network sites face:

  • There was no verification that this person, using my name and photo, obviously intending to make people believe that the profile was my own (despite having jumped up and down about how I wasn’t really ready to try Pownce yet), is really me – who he or she claims to be. Why? No, seriously – why? This isn’t *MY* fault – it’s Pownce’s, and they’re not the only social network with this severe identity shortcoming. If this is an identity-oriented service, where the hell is the identity check!?
  • Some of these people may think this is really me. It’s not, and if it was – I certainly wouldn’t use that profile picture (taken at the first Desktop Linux Summit a few years back).
  • Some of these “friends” may have no idea who the hell I am, yet have added me as a friend – which makes little to no sense if this person really isn’t me, or I (not “I”) didn’t initiate the relationship. Sorry, man – that’s not me. You already know where to find me, and it’s not on Pownce at the moment.
  • If someone claimed this profile in my name to reserve it for me, I appreciate the gesture – but please, I really don’t feel comfortable with putting my identity here when it’s already BLATANTLY obvious that the system is just as lousy as every other social network on the planet (in terms of identity and ABSOLUTE BENEFIT to the account holder).
  • One reason I stuck with Twitter is because it’s simple, it lets the world know what I’m up to, and I don’t feel like my identity is getting monetized out the wazoo without proportional benefit.

Sadly, this is an industry-wide problem – not a Pownce-specific one (although they’re making it all too easy to point out the flaws inherent in the entire ecosystem of social networks). Why do I pick to join one network over another? I don’t know. I really don’t know. But I can tell you one thing for sure: I don’t like it when people pretend to be me. Why the hell you’d ever want to pretend to be me is beyond me, but I guess that’s the point?