Bloggers Anonymous – the question of ethics

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2 Responses to Bloggers Anonymous – the question of ethics

  1. Michael Alan says:

    Several years ago a friend showed me the posting you mention . At first I had no idea who I might have angered to have produced such venom. Reading down the list of comments to the posting it turns out someone identified the author and indeed he was a high school friend. I had re-linked up with him at a high school reunion. After a tour in the Air Force he had slipped into paranoid schizophrenia and, when not hospitalized, much of the time lived on the street. Occasionally I provided food, money, and tools hoping he could establish himself as a handyman. Apparently he thought I was trying to steal away a gentle girl we both knew in high school. His bizarre rant wounded me since I viewed him as one of my few lifelong friends. Those who’ve met me or read my work know I’m a gentle soul repulsed by any form of authoritarianism. Those who haven’t will forever have Google pointing them to this hateful accusation with no way for me to answer. Strange new world.

    • Thanks for offering that. Interesting that your former friend dissed you anonymously, not having stated his grievances to your face. And such behaviour needn’t imply mental illness. As Douglas Rushkoff says in Program or be Programmed: ‘Because digital technology is biased toward depersonalization, we must make an effort not to operate anonymously, unless absolutely necessary. We must be ourselves (p. 83).’ And: ‘If we choose to maintain our anonymity … we are more likely to lash out from the seeming safety of obscurity (p. 84).’ Rushkoff is speaking from personal experience. He also says (re the longevity of posts): ‘this permanence, once fully realized and experienced, only pushes the more cynical user to increasing layers of anonymity. After all, if every comment we make to blogs or articles might be used by a future employer to evaluate our suitability for a job, we might as well say nothing—at least not with our name attached (p. 88).’ Rushkoff is safe being himself – with all his cred! Thanks again for sending me his book.

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