July 2011

EJ and AirBnB

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Why it Matters: Google+ and Diversity, part 2

Google+ in rainbow colors

Over the past 50 hours I’ve lost a lot of friends here, and all of my transgender friends and family and all the older gay activists I was sharing with have all quietly mothballed their accounts. They can’t have their “real” names out there – they work with human rights organizations and do HIV/AIDS activism, etc.

Violet Blue, in a comment thread on Google+

Just a few days before Google+’s doors officially open on July 31, Google’s latest communications from Vic (via Robert) and Bradley on the raft of account suspensions and “common names” policy seem unlikely to put the “identity crisis” to rest.   It’s certainly a positive sign that they’re engaging, and process changes like giving people with names Google doesn’t like a week to change their account name before suspending them are certainly improvements.  That said, the impression they’re giving is that they’re going to try to hold the line with the current policy even knowing that it targets transgender people, human rights activists, people at risk for stalking and harrassment domestic violence survivors, HIV/AIDS victims and caregivers, people with names that sound weird to Americans (or for that matter people in Hong Kong who would rather go by their English names) …

Hey wait a second, I’m noticing a pattern here.

So yes indeed, as I predicted a week ago in A Work in Progress, it’s a crucial time for diversity on Google+.  Given which it seems like a good time to step back and talk a bit about a couple reasons why diversity matters.  For me, it starts with some very intensely personal things.

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Google+ and diversity: A Work in Progress (part 1)

Google+ in rainbow colorsWith over ten million users in just two weeks, and plenty of rave reviews, Google’s latest foray into social networking is off to a great start.  Ever since it launched, I’ve spent most of my online time on Google+, and so far am very impressed from both the software engineering and business strategy perspectives. I think it’s on track to be a big success, so expect me to be talking about it a lot.

Unsurprisingly, I’ll start with diversity.

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Notes from Underground: The Union of Bliss and Emptiness

multicolored candlesA lot’s happened since Anomalous: Seattle Startup Weekend, a friend’s wedding, Pink Saturday and Pride in San Francisco (with sets by Liam Shy and Psysas!), Death Guild, Spook at Synchronize, Strangelove, the SF Mime Troupe in Dolores Park on the Fourth of July … after 10 days in San Francisco, we drove back to Seattle early last week.  And oh yeah, Google+ launched, and seems likely to integrate question-and-answer functionality soon — impact on qweries to be determined, but certainly cause for some rethinking.

So I was ready to dance, and DJ Anomaly once again obliged with a killer set at The Atrium.  Work was on my mind a lot more than I had inspected; no surprise, really, since that’s where the big open question in my life is at this point.   But once again the decor was great at the Atrium, candles and black light, reflections stretching out to infinity — and lighting that makes everybody look good — so for most of the night I was able to leave day-to-day concerns behind and get into the music and vibe. Continue Reading »

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