“Anonymous Blogging 101: a Quick and Dirty Primer” is an article written by blogger Treacle, and discusses why and how someone would blog anonymously. She discusses that many people like the internet because it allows open sharing without needing to disclose personal information. Additionally, you can even provide made up personal information if you want to portray a completely different personality than you may have in real life. This idea is seen most stereotypically in online dating, but it can even be applied to a person’s blog.
So, why would someone choose to either not disclose their identity, or to make a fake one up in replacement? She gives three reasons: 1) privacy and safety 2) honesty and 3) personality and character. Some people fear that if their identity is online, their friends, family, and job may all be able to find them and there could be consequences depending on the blog topic. Additionally, strangers could find out too much information and get very creepy. Honesty plays a role in the fact that you won’t be as forthcoming with information about a certain topic if you indeed think people you know will read it and judge you. Anonymously, no one knows you and therefore can’t judge you. Personality and character allows anonymous users to be perhaps more outgoing than they are in real life, or maybe even more contemplative. I think they are all interrelated but honesty is the most understood on the actual blog site. By this I mean, if people have their name attached to something, they aren’t going to be as honest as they might have been anonymously. The content will be much more interesting and provocative if someone were to be honest in content and anonymous in identity rather than semi-honest in content and totally revealing their identity.
Now that you know the different reasons why someone would choose to remain anonymous online, how do you make it happen? Treacle gives a few options. As a blogger, you are totally in control of how much information you share with your readers. As such, there are varying degrees of identity you can reveal. You can choose to reveal absolutely nothing about yourself (what she calls “full anonymity”), use a completely fake name and post no photos, no geographical landmarks, blog entirely from hidden IP addresses or library computers so you cannot be traced. You can choose to give only some information out (“semi-anonymity”) by giving a fake name but attaching real pictures of you and few details about the area you live and what interests you. Then there is “secret anonymity” in which you know all the details you have given are fake, but people believe them to be a real identity. Under this method you would have a fake name attached to fake Facebook, Twitter, etc. which makes people believe you are really that identity.
It’s important to understand if you choose to blog anonymously that you must do this from the start. As she says, it is much easier to reveal little bits of yourself over time than try to take back any identifiers you may have provided already. Also, you have to realize that while you are blogging there is always the chance that someone can find out your real identity, so you must prepare for that event as well.
IDK if any of you listen to country music, but I thought this music video went along with the article perfectly (and yes, that is Taylor Swift back up dancing):
1. Do you think bloggers should disclose when they receive free products from companies?
I’m pretty sure that this is mandatory, so yes they should. On top of that, it makes it more truthful to know that someone received an item and did not purchase it on their own. For example, I used to follow a lot of nail art blogs during my high school days. Sometimes well known bloggers would get sent new polishes from OPI, Essie and so on either for the purpose of reviewing, or with the expectation that they would write about the polish in some way. Of course these are good brands to begin with, but if someone is providing you with a product for free, I would assume you would be more likely to write well about it, which may not be what you really would feel had you paid 8 dollars for it like everyone else.
2. Do you think bloggers should be held accountable for fact-checking the same way that journalists do?
I’m on the fence about this one. Morally, you shouldn’t want to perpetuate lies, and you definitely wouldn’t want to be sued for defamation. Writing things about other people or companies should definitely have at least one real source to back up your claim, just for your own sake. But if it is as simple as saying the date that something happened, I don’t know if that’s so important to need to be fact checked. If someone reads it and thinks it is wrong, they can just Google search it on their own and you know what? If it is wrong… in the grand scheme of life writing 2002 on your blog when it was really 2003 is not a huge deal. I understand in newspapers people can lose their jobs over missing mistakes like that but on a personal blog it is much more informal and you are basically your own boss. Small facts, I’d let go. But I would definitely get a source on larger more important things.
I think that comparing bloggers to curators is very metaphoric certainly, but not that close of a match. Mainly this probably is in my head because curating is such an old and established task whereas blogging seems to be new and changing daily as we learn to use the internet in various ways. I think the connection between curating and blogging comes from the fact that blog admins, like curators, get to choose what to feature. Something about blogs in my mind makes them seem to have so much more potential than curators, as bloggers can create their own content while curators, I believe, need to work with what they are given from thousands of years ago. On the other hand, bloggers that have specific focuses to their site may have this same issue of a small breadth of topics and posts to discuss. I started out on this post discussing that they are not the same but have convinced myself by the end of it that perhaps there is a better connection than I had originally thought. interesting
I believe social media and social networks are synonymous terms, referring to a website that connects you to many people you may know, and some you may not, hence forming an online network. Examples of this would be Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter. Even though Twitter is considered “micro-blogging” it allows you to be much more “social” than a normal or typical blog. All of these examples allow users to converse freely, check out status updates, view photos, and more while everyone else is able to do the same about them. Users can examine deeply the life of another person (what they choose to share) and give feedback or become “social” over the site that is shared.
For that reason, I do not think blogs are social media. They are websites that one person controls and while others may sometimes be able to leave comments, there is no large conversation taking place. A blog author can choose to disable comments, truly taking away any aspect of socialization they might receive, and on top of that, they are not obligated to write back like users of social media websites, who are more or less are expected to. Blogs are much more one-sided than social media forms.