Spacefem (spacefem) wrote,

swe conference: facebook developer session & my real name

I got to go to a session put on by developers from Facebook about Facebook Connect and their challenges in creating a new system. I went to the session not knowing much about Facebook Connect. I wasn't terribly impressed. It's sort of an extension of their already-pretty-big API smushed together with OpenID concepts. Th presenter talked about how you sign up on a hundred websites a year and each one asks for your name, e-mail, a password, etc. Facebook Connect just lets you click a button on that site and a popup from Facebook comes up asking something like "do you want us to tell site X who you are?" and you click yes and then you're signed in. I asked if it was a two-way street like open ID. I didn't say "openID" in my question, I wasn't trying to sound smart, just asked "If someone doesn't have a facebook account, can I use Connect to sign in with, say, my Amazon username?" The answer was no, and honestly the presenter seemed a bit astounded that someone would have a login to some other website but not Facebook. She said it'd take a lot of work to make this a two-way, they'd have to work a lot with Amazon, and I thought of saying "not really you could just publish and open standard" but sometimes I like to shut up.

That said, I felt bad for the presenter because people went on to ask really stupid questions that had nothing to do with software. Like, there was also a presentation by manufacturing engineers who talked about packaging Tide, did anyone ask her about their laundry problems? But this audience couldn't hold back, asking about what Facebook was doing to prevent/protect kids on the site, and all this stuff about privacy issues. The presenter was really cool about it, answered each question carefully and explained how users had a lot of flexibility in privacy settings. It was just annoying. It's got to be tough to work for Facebook and get those questions all the time. In the case of Facebook Connect, you're basically telling facebook "yes you can give this other site my information, I was going to type it in anyway but this will save me time." So why should it be Facebook's responsibility to totally police all these sites? People just didn't get it.

But anyway... another thing I noted was that the presenter seemed to assumed the internet had evolved to this place where people use their real names. No silly anonymous pseudonames anymore, unless you're all over-paranoid and behind the times. I still go by Spacefem so obviously I disagree.

I don't go by Spacefem because I'm paranoid or I think you're all cyber-stalkers. In fact a lot of you know my real name, or have ways of finding out my real name, and I've been pretty safe for the last decade or so. I actually go by Spacefem because I don't trust people in my real life. I work for a company that has strict policies about us sharing any information online, we don't have a social media policy to draw the lines, we have a lot of upper-managers who would not understand why I have a blog or a website. If they found me out, two things could happen. First, they could find evidence of something I've said that reflects poorly on me as a professional or them as a company, and I'd get in trouble. I think this is unlikely because I'm really pretty positive and rarely talk about work anyway, but you never know how things can be interpreted.

Second, and this is what I'm really afraid of, is that they'd just think I was weird. Why have this blog? Why let people into my life? Why have a website? Normal people don't try to have a big website. I get a lot out of being online, but not everyone understands. So I keep it separate.

It's nice to think of a world where our hobbies are appreciated and individuality is celebrated, but that's just not where we live. And it's tough, because those people who work on social networking sites obviously do work at a place that celebrates having an online presence, so they're going to have a unique view of things. But that's not my world. I'm okay with that, just sort of wish they could relate.
Tags: social media
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