If you’re ashamed of what you’ve done, change your name

Fri, Aug 20, 2010 at 2:06 pm

    If you’re ashamed of what you’ve done, change your name

    At a certain point, fabulously successful people can grow fabulously out of touch with the world that the rest of us live in. Think of the late Michael Jackson. Think the hedge fund manager who was surprised that people were offended by his $3 million birthday party.

    And now, think Google CEO Eric Schmidt.

    In a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal, Schmidt noted that most people don’t understand how the concept of privacy is under siege from social media.

    “I don’t believe society understands what happens when everything is available, knowable and recorded by everyone all the time,” Schmidt said.

    Too true. Few would dispute that. But what should one do about it?

    “He predicts, apparently seriously,” added reporter Holman Jenkins, “that every young person one day will be entitled automatically to change his or her name on reaching adulthood in order to disown youthful hijinks stored on their friends’ social media sites.”

    The sound you hear is laughter echoing in the blogosphere.

    TechCrunch: “Scary and downright pointless:”

    “…in an age where search will be much more powerful than it is now, a simple name change probably won’t present much of a hurdle to anyone actively looking to dive into your online past.”

    CNET: “Schmidt raises a wonderful opportunity for all sentient beings to come at least one step closer to the person they wish they were. So what strategy should one choose when becoming someone entirely new?”

    Huffington Post asks: “Ludicrous or absurd?”

    Reader response: I’ll keep my name. Google should change its name to Giggle.


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