Monday, December 14, 2009

Keeping Us Honest

Recently I was reading an exchange on Dangerously Irrelevant that placed the author in a position of defending his position on a posting vs. a reader's interpretation.  This is nothing new, but what tweaked my thought process was the concept that so many of the bloggers are truly anonymous.  In my responses, I use only my first name "Marshall" to reply to posts.  To most people this means little.  To those I personally know it may mean more (possibly it means less).  To be honest, my first few comments I made were done under a false name, and I felt free to say anything I wanted without ever having to back it up - or I didn't have to really back it up.  I know several people that do this or have done this as well.  In addition to blogs, how about the comments that come after the on-line articles in the news.  People have made comments there I sincerely can't imagine would be made if the source was known.  On the other hand, those that may not have large audiences but still speak with credibility continue to impress me (Dave Keane, for one).  With an ability to be anonymous and therefore to be unaccountable, do we get more honest feedback, or do we encourage those that can simply unload their thoughts?

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8 comments:

Kastendieck said...

Using an anonymous name is very inviting. I have done so to see if perhaps I got more responses to a comment and even changed to a recognized male name to investigate responses. It seemed that male names get more responses and would love to see a study that is based on some type of research data. After reading in DI about expotential technology I can understand why people use anonymous names when commenting on a blog. Stored forever somewhere is a scary idea when you might some day be in the public eye. People are funny that way and seem to love to dig up anything from the past and with technolgy it is really easy. I do believe that being anonymous makes me be more honest, in a way. When I use my name I edit comments but anonymous I never do. I do think some people are just going to be unloaders but hey they do it face to face with strangers in the Wal Mart line. Kudos to Dave Keane for his honesty but in the political world he would be hard pressed to run for president...or maybe not.

Marshall said...

Yes, I can understand it as well. It makes sense that we have a veil of comfort, and sometimes that does allow more honesty although the accountability that is lacking probably dimishes the credibility as well. That isn't true for those that have an alias that is recognized - for example "Tina" may or may not be your name on this site, but it gives you the long-term credibility of anything that you have said here.

Kastendieck said...

Yes and no. Someone else could easily use the name and post with it. Someone on this site might assume that it is from the same source when indeed it is not. That is where the blog hits the fan. Assume nothing when working with technology. Photos can be shopped, e-mail can be changed and resent, and anything can be copied and taken out of context. Must we keep a copy of all original digital conversations and submissions? If I was running for president I would. Sounds negative but is the new mind set with the technology we use and have to use. I am sure in the future there will be a way to fix this error , similar to how phone lines used to be open for anyone to hear , we digital users need to demand more security in sites usage. Until then this is 'Tina' or so you may assume.

Marshall said...

You are very correct that it is easier to impersonate if someone would desire. It is also possible in other mediums, but extremely easy in the technology we use today. We still have to be wise consumers of information, whether we think we know who we are talking to or not.

Dave Keane said...

I guess I don't worry about posting using my own name. In fact, I am probably arrogant enough to think that people will appreciate what I have to say and thus want to get credit for it. LOL
Actually, it had never really dawned on me that there are a great many who use online aliases until I read this post. I get really irritated by those who use these screen names and post on news sights and are unethically critical. It seems that people think it is just fine to rip a coach, teacher, politician, and even student athletes without signing their name. Many of these comments are just plain lies. In my opinion, these people are just plain chicken shits. I appreciate the idea that when commenting on politically charged comments one may wish to chime in with what they really believe without being labeled a biggot, but I guess I ussually feel strongly enough about what I post that I am not concerned about what others may think. I am not the type of person that would fit in just any community or in any position. I don't want to go to work each day pretending to be someone else. I just figure if people do a google search on me and don't like what they find I will probably not be happy working there anyway.
I am not going to judge those who use screen names and understand how this probably allows them to say what they really mean which makes for great conversation and thus great learning for me. That is why I like to read and post on blogs. It is all about what I learn through the exchanges. I have made comments and then changed my stance on several issues during my exchanges. I like that about blogging with people who often reside in places far from here and any reasonable chance of having a face to face conversations.

Kastendieck said...

Good for you , Dave Keane, to have the courage to not worry about who reads what you post on a blog. I perhaps have been to politically active for my own good and have seen so many times how things have been searched from sites and used out of context and against an individual. I find most people will not doubt or look into a statement made on the internet or TV. I also remember history when women had to use male names to get a book,poem, or political statement published. Yeah that whole gender thing still comes up. I also know the what I say will be interpeted differently by every person that reads it. (see first sentence of this post). So yes I think being anonymous has it's part in blogging and creditbility has a part also.
I give you credit for seeing both sides and taking one.

dkeane said...

This has been a great thread for me. I appreciate the comments made. I think that we need to get more on here to further enhance our conversations.

Marshall said...

I agree. Feel free to spread the word. Like the FB link.

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