Anonymous vs Me
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Let's consider my random words for a moment. I don't have a huge readership, so I know that most of the people who read this probably know at least a little something about me. And if you don't, you can always find out more about me -- there are those links on the left to let you find out more about me. If I say something really amazing, I'll get credit for it in some social fashion. If I say something horrible, I'll get slapped for it, virtually or possibly literally.
transparency/accountability <----> anonymity/freedom of expression
Now let's consider the average blogger or flaming tweeter (side note: I'm guessing that if you ordered a flaming tweeter at a bar you'd get a lot of rum in your drink). Anonymity means no one calls you on your bullshit. Which means you can be hip deep in random comments so fast you don't even see the wave cresting over your head. But... that wave of bullshit doesn't crash on the anonymous flamer because... well, if you're anonymous you don't exist.
So, there's a kind of a dialectic here...
The problem for me is that I can defend both ends of the spectrum as easily as I can tear them down. I think that accountability is critical in uncovering the truth -- if I know who wrote something, I can interpret their motivations and create a frame of reference for what they're saying.
At the same time, if you're unfettered by social constraints, you can say anything. Anything. And "anything" is a powerful word. When you set someone free, especially those who have lived on a short chain, you discover things you never thought of before. Sure, it might be that wave of bullshit I mentioned, but it might be something revolutionary.
So, here's my point.... there's a lot of talk in the media about how anonymous blogging and tweeting is creating a sadistic, dark society. It may be revealing the dark, sadistic side of humanity, but it's hardly creating it.
But as we allow the darkness into our consciousness, I think it's important to realize that out of chaos comes some amazing things, like diamonds from volcanoes, or iron from the cores of stars. Then it takes intellect and reason to fashion useful and beautiful objects from these rough, but invaluable materials ejected from chaos.
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Be sure to see my blog over at Cloudenity. This week's topic:
Identity Isn't Just for Users Anymore