OnlyMeWorld.com has many of the same features as Facebook and Google+, such as video chatting, the ability to share photos and the goal of connecting people, but with one huge difference. Not only does the site, which launched its beta version in April and officially went live last week, not require users to submit their real names or email addresses, it strongly encourages them not to.
“Any site can be hacked, even with so-called state-of-the-art online security systems,” reads the company’s press release. “Your information is still in a database somewhere, which can be hacked, or unintentionally disclosed or subpoenaed and turned over. With a Real Name, Email Address, and Date of Birth, a cyber criminal can seriously damage your personal & financial life.”
When it comes to social networks, privacy is a constant battle. It is a common complaint regarding Facebook, where any time a change is implemented, users must go through a multi-layered, counter intuitive process to ensure their privacy settings are still intact. Google+ has a policy banning members from using pseudonyms. (Actually, so does Facebook.)
OnlyMeWorld also makes a point of noting it uses no web tracking, facial recognition software, or data mining. Facebook has repeatedly come across problems in this area, most recently with one hacker finding a Facebook cookie that tracks your movements even when you’re logged out.
Joining only takes a few minutes. You can register either a personal or business account. I signed up for the former and the only personal information I entered was my birthday and current location. You can also upload an avatar if you wish.
While creating my account, it did feel strange to not use my real name anywhere, especially in the username. Have I been programmed to automatically include some version of my name in every social network I join — in no small part because it enhances Google search results for ‘Elana Zak’? I’m not sure.
What do you think? Are you going to join OnlyMeWorld? Could the site be a viable competitor to Facebook?