Technology with attitude

Want Anonymity? You May Not Want To Blog.

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If you haven’t heard yet, a liberal blogger was outed over the weekend by a conservative blogger.

Fallout?

By and large, most of the folks I’ve read have come down on the side of the blogger who was formerly known as Publius. And hey, fair enough. I understand and respect the reasons why somebody would want their privacy. Also, the conservative did act incredibly immature.

However…

I also want to offer that those who want to remain anonymous in the highly public, emotionally charged atmosphere of the blogosphere are being a bit naive. I say this knowing full well that Donklephant has had its fair share of anonymous bloggers. Again, I respect everybody’s right to privacy if that’s the route they want to take, and I’ll never out you. But that doesn’t mean somebody else will feel the same way.

Listen, all bloggers (public or anonymous) should get into this game with a full understanding of the risks and consequences. You have to ask yourself if you really think it’s worth losing your job or alienating your friends and family just because you want to post your thoughts publicly. Because that’s pretty much what blogging boils down to.

Oh, and then there’s also that part where you let people comment on your thoughts. Most blogs do this, but there are notable exceptions like Instapundit and Andrew Sullivan. And sometimes comments can be great and you connect with some fantastic people, but it can also get really awful too and you run into some real nut jobs. And, unfortunately, politics brings out many more nut jobs than fantastic people. You have NO idea how many comments I delete that call for people’s deaths, are blatantly racist, sexist, homophobic, etc. It’s crazy. I’m not complaining, but that’s the reality and it can sometimes be a grind.

Also, is anonymity even appropriate? Wasn’t blogging supposed to bring about increased transparency? Aren’t we trying to demand the same respect as journalists? And let’s face it, the blogosphere has broken a few important stories, but by and large we’re all talking about the stuff that the mainstream media reports. That’s understandable given the time commitment it takes to break news, but the less transparency there is in the blogosphere the more it works to undermine our overall goals.

Please understand that I’m not advocating people being outed. But, as I said before, don’t be surprised if somebody chooses to at least tell people who you are if you choose to join the conversation. Anonymity certainly isn’t a right and it shouldn’t be treated as such.

One last note…why hide? Why not share your opinions with your friends, family and employers? I understand that the answer to that is alienation and retribution, but if you really feel compelled to blog in the first place I think you owe it to the people who are closest to you some transparency. And to that point, I listed my blog on my resume when applying for my present job and I even have it as part of my LinkedIn profile. Imagine if I hadn’t told them and they found out after the fact. Think they’d feel as if they couldn’t trust me? And whose fault would that be?

So there it is. I hope this added something to the conversation. Feel free to disagree, but do so respectfully.