Online Coward

I have friends that blog Anonymously to protect their jobs, their family, their privacy. I censor myself constantly because I am professional enough to know where to draw the line that I try to use to protect my job. Protects, not guarantee, because I am sure that saying things online can have repercussions beyond.

When I lived back in Michigan nerdrage ensued in one of the forums I used to frequent. One of the people started making very serious threats and it just so happens that most of the people in that forum were highly competent with computers. Finding that person’s personal information was pretty simple and cops were knocking on a door I believe that same day. Sure, the threats and insults were empty, and the guy was not man enough to say them face to face in the next big meet up (which btw he never attended.) Anonymity in that case was just in the dude’s brain.

Nuke always says that alcohol removes inhibition but does not make anyone do anything. I wholeheartedly agree. I think the sense of anonymity and disconnect of the internet does something similar.

The internet is in an uproar for the last couple of days since Google was court ordered to release the identity of a blogger. She ran a site talking crap about models, specifically one model that apparently was someone she knew IRL (In Real Life). Now the cowardly blogger, that spewed the venom towards the probably not completely innocent model, is suing Google for $15 mil. This has huge ramifications legally because it sets a lot of precedent in the area of anonymity on the internet.

I have never felt like I could put content on the web and be anonymous. I have encountered plenty of trolls throughout my internet adventures, but not many have any substance or staying power. They come and go and even quicker when they are totally “anonymous.”

I think the blogger that was calling models “skanks” was just bitter and jealous of something she probably could not be or obtain. Any time I see people trying to criticize others on a personal level, I am sad for them because they are obviously trying to cover up the sadness that it is their own life. Why are so many grown ups acting like they were back in high school? How is there a blogger out there that has the desire or even the time to create content just to attack another human being? Pretty pathetic.

I am glad that a big portion of the people that read my blog know me in real life, know that my name is actually John and that I am the same person online and off. I actually enjoy being public and thanks to that I have an awesome group of friends that I met through the internet. Think of it, I might just switch my blogroll around to people that I know IRL and people that I would love to meet!

10 Responses to Online Coward

  1. Wait – You’re a real person??? How can that be? -I just assumed you were a computer generated program spewing out random phrases to make what could be taken as a well thought out and planned article. Are there other real people on the internet? Can they see me? Do they know what I’m doing right now? –
    Actually John I think you bring up a valid point. There is no true anonymity anymore and anyone who thinks there is is just fooling themselves. From the ability to track cell phones to those “discount” tags tracking our purchases one would have to live with their head up their nether regions to think they were unknown to the world. It is what it is and to belittle and insult other people and think you have a right to because it was on the internet is just foolish – just my opinion

  2. Ahem. I’ll be happy to be on that blogroll, mkay? I know you’d love to meet me.

  3. Hey Log – could I be on your blogroll? I’ve had you on mine for ages (well, at least the two months that it’s been up)

    As for anonymity on the internet, you are only anonymous as long as you do not warrant a more thorough look. the tall blade of grass gets snipped.

  4. I wrote on Shane’s blog-I hope she wins 15 mil. Anyone can belittle anyone else,it hardly ever causes real harm,but by outing the chick they damaged her future chances for anything.Also knowing the name doesn’t help much i.e. “mayor funky” knows who TKC is and his address and his mom,how does that help him with anything.what if TKC was anonymous,would that make any difference?

  5. Great post, John. One of these days, you and I will actually meet face-to-face. And I will prove to you that I am real.

  6. I hope the Internet stays at least as anonymous as it is now. The second everyone knows who we are on the internet is the second we get tailored advertizing popups. I’d be surfing the net at work, playing on facebook or something, and BAM! A popup ad for a sex doll beer holder made out of legos. That would be a fun one to explain to whoever happened to be looking over my shoulder.

  7. pretty poignant post. can’t hide behind a machine and spew garbage. at least spew garbage about yourself..

  8. If I read the info above correctly, Google supplied the customer information after receiving a court order to do so. Sucks for the plaintiff but I don’t see how she can win a suit against somebody who was following court instructions.

    As to anonymity on the net, even places I don’t use my real name I do NOT expect to be utterly anonymous. It is possible to do so, I suppose, for people who are really good with internet hardware and protocols could do so but most of us don’t have the time or knowledge to do so. Just because you don’t put your legal name on something doesn’t give you an internet invisibility cloak. Before you hit send on anything, ASSUME your identity can be found out. It might make you think about toning things down to the point somebody won’t bother to root you out.

    And tying back into the booze statement John, you’re right. An anonymous asshat would gladly be an asshat IRL if they thought they could get away with it.

  9. Wait a minute. so people can find out I am really a guy? No more being nancy on myspace! Thanks for the info.

    I hope my blog will be protected. At this point I have lost my fan base with my extended absences.

    speaking of internet privacy…. you hear about facebook checking your email and recommending people you might have emailed 4 years ago? your ex girlfriend. people not even in your contact list? that’s scary.

  10. I can see both sides of this argument, though I guess it’s b/c no one’s talking about me on the internet, so it’s easy to stand back and say that’s not fair to release identities if she’s not threatening anyone. But if Google was court-ordered to provide that info, then I imagine her suit won’t go very far.

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