A Case For Anonymity

I’m not anonymous.

GCHQ.

Friends.

Randoms I’ve met via the internet.

They know what I look like, know my given name.

Anyone who pays attention to what I tweet and write (not that this will add anything to your life so it isn’t worth the effort) could probably work out my approximate age.

My rough location in the world and my field(s) of employment over the years I’ve documented myself, I’m not exactly 100% private and anonymous but the fact that hopefully the great majority on twitter and reading this don’t know what I look like or my real name is enough to assuage any massive worries I have about my own general anonymity online.

I’m anonymous because I choose to be.  I’m not a troll, not in the worst sense anyway, then again term troll itself has been ascribed and redefined many times to now be a catch-all term for a great spectrum of behaviour.

My thoughts and views do not require knowledge of who I am; too often I’ve seen named twitter accounts avoid questions using the “you hide behind an avatar” line just because someone, even in the course of polite conversation, might field a view different to the person they were talking to.  This is a nonsensical and cowardly approach, it stifles debate and gives inaccurate credence to a view that only those with identities can have opinions and those opinions are worth more than the anonymous.

As I’ve gone on in my career, social media policies at various jobs have evolved and especially focussed on not saying or doing anything that would bring a company into disrepute.  An interpretation of these guidelines would be that anyone in employment shouldn’t really post anything personal (views or otherwise) online as you could lose your job.

I know that some of the views I hold don’t chime with even those close to me in real life let alone the status quo of twitter and seeing the reactions of some people online to certain views only highlights that, if only for the sake of continued employment/employability my veiled identity protects me from the vindictive and self-righteous, those that don’t know what a joke is, or satire or who feel they’ve been personally besmirched.

The way the world is going, everyone is just that little bit more crazy and unpredictable, I have the courage of my own convictions and being anonymous means that, should I wish to meet someone I’ve talked to online (and in the drinking world this happens at extremely regular intervals) it is always me that has to identify myself after I’ve worked myself up to a level of trust.

Give and take, I don’t trust anyone I don’t know, their aims and motives and likewise you shouldn’t trust me but not knowing each other or anything about anyone is no reason not to talk and debate about things, whether in agreement or disagreement, whether known or anonymous.

 

“There is no truth, only human opinion.”

 

Thanks for reading.

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