Dear Google,

I respect your triumphs and learn from your endeavors in Human-Computer Interaction. You also have many good friends of mine that I know you’re good taking care of.

But I have one polite request from you: Please disconnect my youtube service to my gmail account.

Months ago, I casually checked out some youtube videos and was shocked to find my name in the upper right hand corner. I have only uploaded one video, and I rarely ever sign in because I am not a videographer. But this time, I found that I was automatically signed in without me doing anything.

I later found out that you, Google, have upgraded all gmail accounts to a Google account, unifying existing services such as gmail, youtube, etc. into one log in name. For those that use lots of Google services together and often, this is great. One login to access everything, and there are better connections between these features.

Some of us have a professional, school, or academic gmail account, this is bad news.

Youtube for me is a place where I can find information that appeals to all sides of me, from the professional, tech scientist to the crafty woman to the super nerdy fan. If I want to find something, I search for it, and it’s information just like the internet.

But, my email represents my professional persona, where I am Anamary Leal, the human-computer interaction researcher and computer scientist.

Merging my Gmail account with my youtube viewing history mashes these different personals into a blob. This move links my academic papers with silly youtube videos about cats and rainbows. My research with songs about Fridays and stitching tutorials. My professional persona is mashed with my crafty & nerdy persona, without my permission.

Someone looking at my professional persona doesn’t need to know that I love videos of cats with rainbows, K-Pop artists with catchy dances, or of newscasters edited to sound like they’re singing. A potential boss might look at my youtube viewing history and judge that I am not a serious technical person, overlook my pursuit in a Ph.D in computer science, and just not offer me an interview.

Heck, maybe a potential boss just hates a video on my viewing list and may just decide to not interview me. While this hypothetical boss might be a terrible boss, it’s far better to give people less reasons to judge you poorly.

Google, your pursuit of the world’s information & how you present yourself on the internet isn’t the issue. The issue is that your services are used in completely different contexts. I use my professional email account in a professional context. But I use youtube in many more contexts than just professional, like a casual, sitting at home context, or even listening to a song context.

I control what people see about me and the kind of audience that sees my content. Telling me to merge these different contexts together seems wrong right now.

Maybe I can merge my professional, arts-and-crafty, nerdy side all into one side without fear of being judged as a weak computer scientist, researcher, or professional. But right now, I know that isn’t the case yet, and until then, I would like to control if/when I connect my professional email to my casual viewing/professionally contributing youtube account.

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