I don’t usually read the high-powered bloggers that pop up on WordPress every time I log in to this blog (mostly they’re about business, and I’m not too interested), but today one caught my eye and I clicked. Here’s what he/she had to say about life on the internet:
“Everything you say/write can and will be used against you in the court of public opinion someday, somehow. Your behavior on the web can cost you a new job, a promotion, your career, your marriage, your friendships, endorsements, and even take you out of contention for college scholarships, military/law enforcement service, or public office.
So please, please, PLEASE, for your own sake THINK about what you are about to post to the web (especially blogs, social networking sites and Twitter). Before you click “send,” “publish” or “update,” assume that everyone you know will read your comment. And by everyone, I mean your boss, coworkers, parents, grandparents, exes, recruiters, future employers, and yes, even your kids (even if you don’t have any yet).”
This is wise advice from a guy/gal who knows the ins and outs (there are a great many comments on this post) of blogging. And I’m listening. Because there is nothing the young blogger wishes for more than to be read by people he/she doesn’t know. But who really ever thinks of the consequences of what one writes? I suppose if I ever convert to Catholicism I will regret my recent post on the pope’s remark about condoms. Which brings me to the whole notion of anonymity, which has in a sense been bugging me for some time.
Not long ago, Yaacov Lozowick attempted a blog-duel (The Judeo-Arab Conspiracy) with a certain anonymous figure who turned out to be too shadowy for anyone’s good. Lozowick cancelled the blog because he had doubts about his opponent’s identity (Lozowick uses his own identity to blog). His reasoning was the following:
“Already then we had a built-in problem, in that my identity is clear and transparent, and Google will tell you all about me, while Ibrahim ibn Yusuf is not the person’s real name. I was willing to accept this, since I know from experience how hard it is, perhaps even impossible, to find an Arab willing to engage an Israeli in dialogue between equals.”
It turns out that Ibrahim ibn Yusuf wasn’t an Arab at all, which defeated the logic of their brief encounter. I have had similar discussions with people about the importance of anonymity/transparency–especially when dealing with weighty issues like the Israeli-Arab conflict or Islam in general.
As anyone can plainly see, I may be a nobody, but I have opted for transparency on this blog.
If I can’t stand by my own positions publicly, then what’s the point of going public?