Friday, December 02, 2005

Blog Anonymity & Employment: The Twin Pillars of Enlightenment

(Good luck making sense of the post title!)

Here's an ABA article about an anonymous Manhattan associate's blog: An Anonymous Blogger Preps For The Big Time. The blog in question is opinionistas.

I would like to take this time to briefly gloat over my choice to not make this blog anonymous.

Blog anonymity is a two-way streak, it can be good and bad. The good is pretty obvious. The blogger gets a chance to seriously vent to the world at large about whatever he or she wishes. There can be no concern for giving away secrets or saying something one would not or cannot say otherwise, in a non-anonymous setting. In addition, due to this free-ranging ability to say almost anything, the blog itself will probably be a Hell of a lot more interesting and garner a larger audience. Hell, The Hot Librarion is damn entertaining because the author writes what she thinks, no filter, no editing, no holding back. That can make for some real entertainment.

The bad is oh so much worse, however. All it takes is one chink in that armor of anonymity and everything previously written becomes a weapon. That post about your female colleague who really needs to change her brand of deodorant? WHAM! That post about your boss' horrible toupee and the time he tripped down the stairs only to have the darn thing fluttering down after him? SMACK! That post about the time your law professor's pink shirt poked through his unzippered pants? KAPOW! All of a sudden, the blogger's entertaining posts become fuel for his/her demise. Blackmail is too nice a word when one's professional reputation and, indeed, profession are on the line.

So what is this all about? Accountability. As a blogger, are you willing to be held accountable for what you write? I said yes, knowing that: (1) Someone, some day, would link my real name to this blog. (2) I don't want to be fearing the day that the someone in question is my boss. (3) I'm generally not a bitchy kind of guy. I try not to strongly put down others. Not to say I'm against the odd moment of truthful opinion but that I'd prefer not to rant about friends or co-workers. (4) The blog would be a bit less entertaining because of the inherent filters. But that was my choice and I'm still glad for having chosen as I did.

When I read the above article, I noted the comments about the blogger's anonymity being in danger and briefly reflected on my budding career. I start work next Monday at my first "real" position. Oh I've worked full time before but not in a permanent position. And this one is permanent or at least "for the foreseeable future," which is approximately the same thing. Maybe once I get a hard schedule in place I'll take the time to post more regularly here. Not on the clock, of course, but rather because it will mean more and I'll have more to say and relate. Right now my days consist of occasionally being productive, more often screwing around watching television or playing computer games, seriously trying not to piss off my mom, and taking the dogs out. It's sad and slow and boring and pretty damn dull. But all that changes next week, for better or worse. Of course the paychecks I receive will heavily weigh in on the 'better' but that's a little different than considering generic levels of happiness and well-being.

So in summary, anonymity no, employment yes. Kind of a killjoy when you can reduce an entire post into four words. Bleh. (Or one word.)