Google+ and Gender
I just signed up for Google+. Why? Because I can. That’s the best I can do for justification, beside thinking it might be something I find worthwhile later on. That and the fact my students have roundly ignored the HammondPhysics fan page I created on Facebook (but, then again, they warned me they would).
But the weird thing is, the only information Google+ insists that I present to the public in terms of “profile” is my gender. Why? I have no idea… I can’t fathom this single request for information about me. Oh wait… advertising? At any rate, I don’t think it’s the first thing I would tell a new acquaintance (“Hi, I’m Mark! I’m male!”).
Some take particular issue with gender being a required and public bit of information.
So I am suggesting that if you, like me, don’t particularly care for Google requiring you to enter your sex or gender (whatever they mean), then enter “Other.” If everyone who is unhappy about being required to indicate gender selects “Other,” someone will get the message. Yes, I know that in certain cases (such as picking personal pronouns in languages other than English) Google interprets “Other” as “Male.” This is weird, really. But the point is, if everyone selects the same classification, attempts to gender target advertising will be confused and pretty much worthless. So there.
Oh, in the meantime, you should also file feedback to Google (by clicking on the little gear in the upper righthand corner of Google+).