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No lawyer or law firm pseudonyms on Google Plus

Lawyers and law firms are notorious for the use of pseudonyms on social media.

Why use your real name by which you are known and use to build your reputation when you can use GeorgiaEmploymentLawyer on Twitter? Yes, it’s inane, but ill-advised lawyers do it everyday.

Lawyers and law firms won’t get the chance to use pseudonyms on Google’s new social network, Google Plus.

ReadWriteWebs’ Audrey Watters shared this morning that just as on Facebook, your real name will be required on Google Plus.

Tying your real name to your online identity was one of the key differentiators that set Facebook apart early on from other online sites. Facebook (and others) argue that a real name policy helps keep bad behavior online in check by linking online actions to offline identities and relationships.

The official word from Google.

Google spokesperson Katie Watson has confirmed that the company will require real names for Google Profiles, the requisite for people to establish their Google Plus accounts. There is a place in your Google Profile account where you can list nicknames, and that’s what Google suggests users do who are interested in listing their other online names and persona. Those who do establish Google Profiles under a pseudonym face account suspension.

Watters argues that there are any number of reasons that people may want to utilize other than their real name.

…[Y]0u’re changing your real world name and identity, using your real world name puts you at risk at work or at home, or simply that people know you by your pseudonym, not by your real name.

She cites virtual world expert Wagner James Au for chronicling additional problems with the no pseudonyms on Google Plus policy.

…[T]his is posing problems not just for political dissidents but for many virtual world users who’d prefer to go by their avatar names. His post was a response to a Second Life user, Opensource Obscure, who had his account suspended for “violating community standards.”

The arguments for pseudonyms don’t apply to you as a lawyer. Your name and reputation mean everything to you.

It’s no different whether you are online in a social network building relationships and enhancing your reputation or chatting with a prospective client in a coffee shop or your office. You use your real name.

I don’t where Google Plus is headed, but I am getting any number of people adding me to their Google Plus circles everyday. I am very grateful that unlike Twitter each person who is following me (adding me to a circle) on Google Plus is using their real name.