How to brag online without appearing to brag

Last week I posted to Buzzblog a list of the 50 best "bragging rights" claimed by users of Google+.

Who says they're the 50 best? Only me. And while they're skewed toward those in my Google+ circles (a lot of techies and media types) and those in theirs (civilians, with a couple of celebs), I compiled this list over the course of a few months by looking at many hundreds of Google+ profiles, which in addition to containing standard biographical info invite users to claim "bragging rights."

Most people pass - it's not required - and too many take the invitation far too seriously. But among those who exercise more imagination, restraint and self-deprecation - in other words, those who get it - you will find interesting and amusing tidbits. Here's a sampling of the techier ones (and the entire list can be found at here).

"I proposed to my wife using obfuscated Perl code," boasts Colin McMillen, a software engineer who actually works at Google.

"I have an amazing Ubuntu Tattoo!" says Benjamin Kerensa, an Ubuntu team leader.

"I understand all the xkcd jokes," notes Peter Schmidt, COO of Linear Air.

"Aware that passing in front of the television should be performed swiftly and timed for the least disruption to the game or gamers," says Dana Geppi Long, a SQL Sever DBA.

"Started using Google+ while I was living in space," brags Ron Garan, a NASA astronaut.

"I own a LAN-party-optimized house," says Kenton Varda, another Google software engineer whose house I've written about a couple of times.

"I can do the Spock eyebrow," claims Julio Ojeda-Zapata, a tech writer for the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

"I shook Steve Jobs' hand," says Robert Scoble, startup liaison officer at Rackspace.

"Slashdot. I did that," says Rob (CmdrTaco) Malda, who now works at the Washington Post.

"I've been shot at while writing code in a 120-degree tent, I've made sensors out of Jell-O, and I'm a pretty good cook," says Matt McKeon, another Google software engineer.

"When I was 14 I wrote a single pass 6502 assembler in Atari BASIC (yes, really). In college, while my peers had modern 286 PCs for their assignments, I had a hand-me-down Heathkit 8086; I rewrote the BIOS so it would be PC compatible enough to run MS-DOS 3.0, Wordstar, Lotus 123, and Borland's Turbo C IDE. Everything since then is a corporate trade secret," recounts Richard Masoner, who works Oracle/Sun and indicated to me afterward that maybe he should have been briefer.

"Worked on 1,000 video games. Kinda. Was a pretty big deal online in the '90s (or at least that's what I told my Mom)," writes Joost Schuur, a product manager in the video game industry.

Here's one of the best-received - at least based on comments:

"Found a dead body when I was 12, saved the Enterprise a few times, Ran the Axis of Anarchy, broke up Penny and Leonard. Currently running the non-lethal weapons lab at Global Dynamics," recounts actor Wil Wheaton.

And, finally, there were quite a few Google+ users who settled on some variation of this theme offered by computer programmer Rob Colbert:

"I don't brag."

Mine didn't make the cut. If you'd like to nominate one - even your own - the address is buzz@nww.com.

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