Friday, July 4, 2008

Sign Your Real Name

Savannah, GA. Anonymity on the internet in comments sections tends to be the refuge of the Dark Side: the fearful, the snarky, the grammar and syntax-challenged, the cruel. It lowers the standards of discourse and plays into a lower denominator. It should be said that anonymous sources are not created equally. Anonymity definitely serves a purpose--it is useful, even vital at times, in law enforcement or in news reporting. But the opinions/comments/editorials of strangers on the web on any given subject are something much, much less. Anonymous posting in comments sections--be they blogs or online periodicals--are the equivalent of gossip tacked to a utility pole three blocks down the street. Is this written by committee or an individual? A bureaucratic hack with an agenda, the neighborhood Mr. Crabbyappleton, or a precociously bright 14-year old? An actual name or moniker leaves a trail. One may use a search engine and possibly see if this individual actually exists, and if the seeming reasonableness of their message is routine or a fluke. Am I reading the thoughts of a fellow traveler or the agenda of a political/corporate scheme filtered through an anonymous mouthpiece? There are no guarantees here, but it certainly helps.

Search with an actual, real name and the result is potentially far more specific, revealing and conclusive. It most certainly does not speciously boost the importance of any idea I may share in any manner, but it does allow any interested reader to know there's a better chance I truly stand behind the words I write. It also affords individuals (supporters of my ideas, or no) a clearer pathway to continue the discussion, even dialogue, off-site, privately and anonymously to others.

1 comment:

Jeff C. said...

Sure, attaching your identity to your thoughts and opinions on the internet is fine and good... unless you're trying to find and/or keep a job, get a date or, you know, just keep your thoughts tucked away from the general public. In other words, transparency is not for everyone.

That said, I like and respect your opinions. Keep up the good work.