Would you be less likely to leave an embarrassingly awful comment on a YouTube video if you had to use your real name rather than an alias?
Well, maybe you’re not the type to leave an awful comment anyway, but a legion of YouTube users certainly are.
Now, Google-owned YouTube is nudging its users to switch from their often goofy-sounding user names to their real identities, an idea the site first pitched back in June. If you choose to switch, Google will use both the picture and name from your Google+ profile on YouTube.
Yesterday, Google began adding pop-up notifications urging its users to switch to their Google+ identity any time they try to comment on a video. You get a side-by-side comparison of what your profile will look like if you choose yes.
Anyone who doesn’t want to switch over to their real name could elect to decline by giving Google a reasonable explanation. Reasons to decline, for example, might be because you have a well-known YouTube channel or that the channel is set up for a show (or entity) rather than an individual. You can’t tell YouTube that you’d like to keep your user name to stay anonymous, as this defeats the purpose of YouTube’s new push: to make users accountable for their comments.
Eventually, I assume most people will switch over, if not only to avoid having to decline every time they want to comment. Whether or not this push for real identities improves a healthy discussion of YouTube videos on the site remains to be seen.