YouTube Wants You To Use Your Real Name For Commenting
July 24, 2012

YouTube Wants You To Use Your Real Name For Commenting

John Neumann for - Your Universe Online

It wasn´t always this way. Back before the internet (if you are old enough to remember such a time) there was little opportunity to post anonymous dirty comments, apart for rest room stalls. However, since the advent of internet social media, it seems like everyone is a critic. Many times it seems as if everyone is a foul-mouthed, brain-dead, ignorant critic. You know...a comment troll.

Comment sections on YouTube videos can be an especially icky part of the internet, but YouTube owner Google is looking to clean up its image by linking your anonymous profile with your Google+ account.

That´s correct, your real name and face may now be associated with all your pointless commentary.

YouTube has begun asking anonymous commenters to merge in their real names and photos, reports Ryan Tate for Wired Magazine. Posting a comment or uploading a video will trigger YouTube to urge you to, “start using your full name on YouTube,” and ask if it can display the identity you´ve associated with your Google+ account. This assumes you are using Google´s social network.

A spokesman for YouTube declined to comment today on whether more changes are in store, but it´s easy to imagine that offering accounts with real names is just a first step toward hiding, and eventually eliminating, comments from anonymous accounts. Such steps would do much to improve the perceived quality of YouTube content.

“One Google-wide identity was something that proved popular with new YouTube users when we began offering it in March, so we are now extending it to existing users,” YouTube software engineer John Fisher wrote in a recent blog post.

He continues describing the advantages of such a system by saying, “This is your identity, so you´re in the driver´s seat. First off, your name. If you are currently YouTube user joeysam87, you can now appear as Joey Samson, the full name from your Google+ profile (with an actual space in the middle!), along with any photo you uploaded.”

“Next step, your past activity. Maybe you posted a few things way back (all those “I love you Biebs!!” comments?) that you´d rather not associate with publicly. By clicking “Review my content,” you can see every video, comment or playlist you´ve ever posted, and decide whether you want it associated with your full name before making the change.”

If you don´t want to use your Google+ account, you can refuse, but you are prompted with a second attempt such as, “Are you sure?” Then, like some kind of internet degenerate, you must explain why you don´t want to use your full name.

Most of the reasons provided involve the user being a business or product, although you can choose the mysterious “My channel is for personal use, but I cannot use my real name,” if you are cruising YouTube as a member of the witness protection program, writes Keith Wegstaff for Techland.

The integration of Google+ and YouTube has been going on quietly for several months. In May, actor and noted tech-geek Wil Wheaton ranted about Google “forcing” its social network on everyone when he tried to like a video on YouTube. He was especially annoyed by a prompt to join Google+. His screed was re-blogged by more than 2,300 Tumblr users, reports Dara Kerr for CNET.

Civility and free speech are difficult to balance even among people who agree on things. Add in thousands of anonymous know-it-alls and we have, well, the internet as we know it. This is definitely a step in the right direction for YouTube; whether or not its users will actually start using their real names is another question.