I was going to write about something entirely different today but I’m so mad right now that I have to get it out of my system before I do something rash like throw down my laptop and stomp on it.
You might have noticed I don’t blog anonymously. This is a conscious decision and it works for me. I am not a confessional type of blogger and I have no interest in recording my everyday life for anybody’s edification. I have kept a journal off and on for years and I’ve kept it as private as humanly possible, so the last thing I want to do is share any of it for any reason. This does not mean that I have something against people who do the opposite – some of my favorite writers on the internet are anonymous personal bloggers who do me the privilege of sharing the intimate details of their life.
I’m a writer, I’ve spent my time working on memoirs, I know how vulnerable this can make a person feel. But even if you were a complete layman, just try sharing something really private about your life with the next stranger you bump into and see how easy it comes to you.
My guess is, it’ll come just about as easy as it did to me – not at all. Which is why the decision to blog under my own name came after quite a bit of thought. I don’t, for example, share certain things about myself. I don’t go out of my way to hide any information but I don’t voluntarily share anything that might touch on other people’s lives or hand out bits and pieces of my personal information. Chances are you have a pretty good idea of who I am if you’ve been reading this blog for the past year (can you believe it? 2007’s almost over!) and that’s perfectly alright by me. But there are still things that you might not know about me and I’m happy to keep it that way.
Point is, we all keep something of ourselves private. Whether we’re anonymous bloggers or not, every human being on the planet has something he or she deems “too personal to share” and keeps it that way. If you’ve ever studied communication models at school or college then you probably know this is an intrinsic part of human psychology. And the things you put on the private list may not necessarily make it to another person’s list. This too is part of normal human behavior.
So why am I talking about this and why am I so pissed off? I’ll tell you: at least two of my favorite blogs just went on a hiatus / retreated behind a password thanks to dumb ninnies who think it’s great fun to “out” anonymous bloggers.
Now look, I’m the most curious person I know. And I come from a long line of nosy people so that’s saying something. Therefore, I understand the urge to investigate a little deeper, find out things about the people who allow you a window into their lives and thoughts, the inner them, without ever handing out the actual location of the house as it were.
But understanding doesn’t make me feel any better about fuckheads who feel compelled to out people. It’s not funny, it’s not smart, it’s not something anyone with an actual life would do. What it is, is disrespectful. When somebody tells you “Here’s my space and here’re my boundaries”, you bloody well learn to respect them.
These people are not your bitches, they didn’t call and ask you to visit, they didn’t hound you into giving them your custom, you are not doing them a favor by visiting their space, you do not own them or their material – and they’re not making an extraordinary request of you by informing you that they don’t wish to share their identity with you. If the lack of a real world name bothers you so much, don’t visit. Don’t read them, don’t link to them, don’t respond to what they have to say. They’re on the internet, not outside your window serenading you: you can afford to ignore them if you don’t like their content.
They are not asking you to harm yourself or yours, to go out and commit felonies, or jump several tall buildings in one shot. They are not asking you to betray flag and country. In fact, they’re not asking you to put yourself out in the least bit. All they’re asking for is some respect for their choices.
It’s no wonder that the world is full of discrimination – racial, gender, sexual or what have you – if we can’t even respect such things as goddamn internet identities. Not that these ladies were the first or are likely to be the last (example1, example2 and example3). Every so often, we have this little rash of outing that accomplishes little in real world terms but causes endless aggravation to people who don’t deserve it. I could perhaps understand why these women were targeted if they were doing something illegal or occupied positions of power. But no, it’s usually some person who has never learned to argue properly and thus decides outing is the best way to deal with the issue.
I’d also like to point out that all too often, it is women bloggers who’re targeted. I don’t mean to say men are never outed, but there seems to be a world of difference between the two genders when it comes to outing. Do more women blog anonymously? Is that why? Or do women blog more personally and thus make easier targets? What is it?
I hope those of you who participated in the latest bout are real proud of yourselves. You’re a bunch of selfish nincompoops and you can hug your “victory” to yourself tonight, knowing that you’ve just ruined the fun for hundreds of others. Congratulations. I hope your life mirrors your actions. I hope they put cameras in the changing room of your favorite store, your spouse’s infidelity makes front page news and your children think Britney Spears and Paris Hilton are role models.
DesiGirl has a bit of show and tell
Ruhi posts tips on protecting your online identity