Wednesday, April 23, 2008
More on Anonymity--veinglory
Who are you online? Who are you as an author? Is that identity the real you? Is that identity a real identity?
In an entirely different context science blogger PZ Myer's says: "I consider a consistent pseudonym to be a name. I've gotten to know lots of people on the web via their chosen pseudonym, and that pseudonym acquires its own authority on the merits of the writing behind it. You don't need to reveal your full, legal name to be known on the web — it's good enough to have a handle so we can recognize you." And I think he is entirely correct.
Bloggers are essentially like authors. They can be known by a 'pen name'. Under an assumed name, used consistently a person can be known and even accountable. The person you know from a book or a blog is not exactly the same person known by family or colleagues. But it is still the same person and in some way perhaps more honestly so than in complex offline social situations. The pseudonymous self is known by their content, by their style, by what they know and what they say devoid of the clutter of place, race and face.
Pseudonymity is not anonimity because it is consistent over time and so what they pseudinbymous person does carried weight and has consequences. You invest time, money and emotion in that part of your life and a person, by any name, who is accountable is a person. And at this point, was PODdy Mouth a person, or a sock puppet? It all depends on how strong you feel the pressure was that caused that personna to vanished from the internet.