Fandango’s Provocative Question #168

Yesterday’s question is about anonymity and whether or not anonymity makes online creeps even creepier.

How do you feel about online anonymity? Do you believe that when people are hiding their real world identity, it encourages them to misbehave or to be offensive? Or does it allow people to reveal who they really are or possibly how they would choose to be and act all the time if they could?

I suppose it depends on a couple of things. Do you believe that using a pseudonym means hackers can’t find you? Might I suggest this is a bit naïve? Hackers are technologically way ahead of us, even those of us who are pretty savvy about online matters.

If you want to be anonymous, being a blogger, especially a popular, long-term blogger, isn’t your best choice. The moment you have a presence online, anyone who really wants to target you, can. Easily. In a few minutes, without stress or strain.

Now, the next question is whether or not using a fake name makes ugly people uglier, creepy people creepier, and angry people more enraged. My answer is probably it does. But these people are looking for a reason to be ugly, creepy, and furious.

Would “going public” make them more circumspect? I doubt it. We had a president who couldn’t keep his mouth shut. There can’t be a more public position. He didn’t care what anyone thought or how much pain he caused. He’s got plenty of followers who feel the same way. They don’t care and couldn’t be more public about it.

Angry people on open social media platforms who hide their identities — or think they are hiding them — are usually working at jobs where “coming out” as the assholes they really are would get them fired. Cops and anyone in the military are two big areas, but anyone who works in a “civilized” profession and mouths off about cabals, guns, and spews hate would probably lose his or her job. Unless, of course, they were elected. In which case all bets are off.

It would take a lot of encryption and technical prowess to be even nominally anonymous these days. In setting up all these systems, the basic freedom to do all usual stuff we do online would be very limited. After I was hacked, I locked down my credit information. I quickly discovered having done that, I could not set up an account with Social Security or arrange for car payments — and so much more.

AND having set it up, you can’t unset it. The companies, like Experion (hacked themselves, mind you), will eventually unset it, but it will take months. It was a massively inconvenient experience and considering how badly Experion was hacked, I have to wonder how much good it did. If any.

Even though I think it’s unlikely to happen, open social media site should require people use real names or make their names available. America has become the land of “it’s not my fault.” No one is responsible for anything. If people have to answer for the garbage that comes out of their mouths, they might at least pause to consider the potential consequences.

How much good would it do? At least it would force them to own up to their own words. That’s better than nothing. These days, “better than nothing” seems to be as good as it gets.

Categories: #FPQ, Anecdote, Media, Provocative Questions, questions, social media, Word Prompt

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12 replies

  1. When I first started blogging in 2005, I worked for a very conservative firm and had I used my real name rather than a pseudonym, I worried about the potential blowback if my bosses ever happened across my blog. Being a liberal and an atheist were not characteristics that were embraced at that firm. And ever since then, all of my blogs have been anonymous, even though I was retired when I started this one.


    • If you feel more comfortable being anonymous, why not? You aren’t out there trying to stage a coup or threatening anyone’s life. And the people who ARE doing that? Half of them were elected. Clearly being foul-mouthed morons doesn’t bother them or their voters. Garry thinks it may actually HELP them get elected, which is an ugly thought, but Garry’s probably right.

      Remember “Network”? Peter Finch shouting: “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!” It think these lunatic pols are today’s version of Peter Finch. All those “mad as hell” people want someone to shout for them. Amazing how dead-on accurate Paddy Chayefsky’s script was.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes, very true Marilyn


  3. I could not agree more


  4. very few want to take responsibility Marilyn for what they say, ignoring the legal threat that follows libel, hope your day goes great, amen


    • Thank you. I find it appalling how few people are willing to take ANY responsibility for anything they do. Our work ethic seems to have gone kaput. You have a great day, too.


  5. Agree with all your points! I made similar ones. And it’s sadly true that spewing hate makes some politicians MORE popular with their loonbase 🙁


    • Well, they arrested one of Michigan’s gubernatorial candidates today for his part in the January 6 riots. He may not think he’s responsible, but somebody does. It was just a short piece in the Washington Post, but it made me smile.

      Liked by 1 person

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