I’ve written on this subject before, and my bottom line is that its a net positive for society for people who know what they’re talking about to do so in a public forum, even if in order to do so they must use a pseudonym. I want to take a poll here and see what you all think, but before that, I want to clarify a few things (click through for the poll):
- The good/best blogges/tweeters share some information about their background so readers can judge whether they’re credible.
- Even without biographic information, the only measure is the quality of the content and the strength of the arguments contained therein. It DOES NOT MATTER WHOSE NAME IS ATTACHED TO THEM. Our country was founded by Men (and women) who understood this!
- Bloggers/tweeters – contrary to the complaints of some – DO, in fact, have reputations to build/foster/protect. The blogosphere/twitterverse observes fairly Darwinian dynamics: the high(er)-quality blogs/tweets tend to float to the top and get noticed by other authors of high-quality material. The crap tends to sink to the bottom. There are exceptions to this rule, but it generally holds true.
- Professional writers/tweeters/bloggers/whatever are by definition public persons. Dealing with criticism comes with the territory. If you can’t handle the heat, get out of the fire. Trolls have been criticizing Public Persons since the beginning of time (if not earlier!) and it doesn’t matter from whom the criticism comes. If its an ad hominem attack, ignore it (I’m the subject of many ad hominem attacks, too, and it bothers me just as much when I’m the subject of such an attack whether its under my pseudonym or real persona). If its a valid argument, debate it on its merits. It’s really as simple as that (short of outright and blatant harassment, of course)
- Everyone gets criticized in their job (especially if they’re doing it well!). I’ve had colleagues/bosses/etc SCREAM at me, call me all sorts of names, tell me I’m an idiot, tell me I just totally f*cked up an project in front of dozens of people. It sucks, especially when the criticism is not just about the quality of your work but attacks you personally. I do feel for Public Persons because there’s alot of hate out there, but you’re the one who chose your path, if you don’t like it, find another career. Otherwise, It happens. Learn how to shrug it off and get back to work. That’s the only way to deal with it.
- The whole point of this blogging/tweeting thing is to share information and engage in healthy debate. Surely, we’re all human and every single one of us will resort to ad hominem attacks eventually, but we need to make a conscious effort to not only avoid doing it ourselves, but understanding that when others do it to us, they’re likely doing so out of impulsive anger, and responding in kind is counterproductive. I say this fully acknowledging that I have made these mistakes myself several times. I’m not perfect – no one is – but we all need to be cognizant of our behavior and others’ as well, and try to be civil, that’s all.
Let’s take a poll. Are you for or against pseudonymous/anonymous writing/blogging/tweeting? Please say why in the comments!