Do you know destroyaliens1?
Or perhaps you are acquainted with devilsevil613?
Maybe you have run into myviewrules?
How about youareallidiots?
These are just some of the wonderful folks who anonymously post comments laced with hatred, vitriol, and yes even death threats all across the social web. And they do so with the full and open freedom of our digital age and without the terrible “abuse of power” that those who believe in accountability would demand and impose if they got their Neanderthal way.
Give me a break…
I have long been a foe of the kind of anonymous comments that belittle, insult, present falsehoods, insinuate, and otherwise cause personal, property or business damage.
And yes, I am aware of the important comments being shared by those too timid or afraid to speak out – and I am not being facetious here– but I am as equally aware of those who have been seriously hurt – some fatally as we sadly know – by people who hide behind the freedoms they have.
My issue – to be clear – is not for or against the freedom that should be inherent in our time – it’s about how do we make the Freedom a privilege and not an entitlement.
What got me going was a piece in Techdirt.
It’s a good piece and worth the read – more importantly, it’s a great platform for the discussion.
See what you think…
If you work for a company that has a policy – that you subscribed to and signed – that doesn’t allow you to comment to the media in any way and therefore the only way around this tyranny is pseudo name – does that equate with someone who is afraid of cyber stalkers or of death threats…no doubt from other veiled sources – or with the posts from some authoritarian country where the very act of posting can lead to torture and death?
You tell me – my opinion should be clear.
Seems to me that we have a skewed and sad view of anonymous driven by the nature of our time. Listen:
“In our world of big names, curiously, our true heroes tend to be anonymous. In this life of illusion and quasi-illusion, the person of solid virtues who can be admired for something more substantial than his well-knownness often proves to be the unsung hero: the teacher, the nurse, the mother, the honest cop, the hard worker at lonely, underpaid, unglamorous, unpublicized jobs.”
Daniel J. Boorstin
The problem is that in pursuit of their 15mg of fame (thank you Bob Greenberg for that notion) too many want to be “well known” and equate a posting with some kind of celebrity status. They want to be other than they are – someone different – something different – which reminded me of a thought I had read by Wilde…listen:
“Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry…” Oscar Wilde
And there you have the issue – the desire to be other – not to accept the accountability of being oneself and all that comes with it.
I feel it – there are issues I’d like to comment on that I can’t – for all kinds of reasons – some out of fear of stalking or threats, some out of appropriateness for my job and such, and some because I just plain should not.
Call me shackled if you will – or slave to injustice – I call it accountability – and maybe more…listen:
“Every improvement in communication makes the bore more terrible.” Frank Moore Colby
Truthfully – I am worried about being a bore but then again no one has to read this if they don’t want – and more – I am triply cognizant of participating in any forum if I don’t think I have something to add.
The good news is that the bores are easy to spot if we identify ourselves…it’s the dangerous folks I’m really worried about and remember:
“Things are seldom what they seem, skim milk masquerades as cream.” W. S. Gilbert
So let’s give all identified skim milk the forum – by all means – but find a way to know the cream if we can’t…
What do you think?