Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Why I Do Not Post Anonymously

We are given only X minutes of life to live. We don't know what X will be for any of us, but we know it is finite (...and usually, too small.)

And when we're gone, all that lives after us is some DNA and some data. Until recently, that data was a few old photos, tattered letters to forgotten lovers, for a few some mention in a newspaper or a book published. Of the tens of billions who ever lived, maybe a few million rate even a wikipedia biography. The rest are gone, like tears in rain

BUT: thanks to the internet (as preserved by google and the NSA) our data can survive as long as there is human life, perhaps longer. We still have only X minutes, but our thoughts, dreams and silly jokes survive us, to inform and perhaps amuse our successors. That most of it is trivia doesn't really matter; of all the millions of books and newspaper articles ever printed, most are junk too. There is some immortality in writing even the most trivial comment on a silly blog ... IF you sign your work.

We who sign our work (typically by pseudonym or handle) create the record that lives on after us. While we are here primarily to amuse ourselves, we have sufficient pride in ourself to take ownership of what we write. Bad or good, and mostly trivial, it is OUR work by golly! And if it's just a little bit better because we know our name is on it, that's o.k. too.

Anonymous trolling, OTOH, is a complete waste of time. This is not only because no-one respects the opinion of a troll, and certainly no-one changes their opinion on any subject of importance because an anonymous coward called someone a naughty word. Because their content adds nothing to the discussion, they are waste of time; but they are an even greater waste of time because they are anonymous. No-one can lay claim to them; no-one can present them to the next generation and say, "See? For better or worse, for good or bad, I lived and I created: here it is."

The time and place for anonymity is when the writer has reason to fear retribution. The crime informant, the spy, the battered child all need the protection of anonymity. But on a blog commenting on cartoons, politics, or just about anything, anonymity is merely pitiable.

Anonymous Coward is pitiable, not because his writing is weak and angry. Weak and angry people can be creative! Rather, we pity Anonymous Coward because he is wasting his limited time on earth.

Anonymous Coward is pissing away his X.

1 comment:

Small Footprints said...

Well said ... and I totally agree! Perhaps "Anonymous Coward" is like a gnat ... irritating for a brief moment then easily swatted away and forgotten.

Small Footprints