Is Mark Zuckerberg Really on Google Plus?

I got into a heated discussion this weekend about whether Mark Zuckerberg on Google Plus is the real Mark Zuckerberg… because why would he do that? I argue that he would because we social savvies know better than not to claim our own names on every platform possible to prevent online “identity hijacking.” The opposing side thinks joining the competition would be stooping too low for his gigantic ego.

As it happens, I found out from Pete Cashmore’s Google+ stream just today that Google Plus now has verified accounts. So just like Twitter, you’ll see a checkmark next to the user’s name in their Google Plus profile page. Google says they are focusing on verifying public figures, celebrities, and people who have been added to a large number of circles. But it looks like this could also turn into another influence metric since Google intends to extend verification to “popular” Google Plus users.

It helps that Google Plus already requires people to use their real names or, “common names” upon penalty of expulsion. If you’re caught with a pseudonym, you have four days to get your act together or you’re out! http://www.google.com/support/+/bin/answer.py?answer=1228271 I think this departure from Twitter is one way to encourage person-person connection rather than the brand broadcasts that are so prevalent on Twitter and even on Facebook now.

Here’s the Google+ YouTube video that gives you the official schpeal:

However, they do not disclose the actual verification process. Perhaps they will keep this information in the same vault as their magic search algorithm because (ahem)… 472,484 circles apparently isn’t quite enough to get a verified check by Zuckerburg’s profile… unless it’s not really him, that is.

photo credit: stock xchng

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