“If you have no identity then your opinion doesn’t matter.”
I’ve said that for years. Anonymous comments and actions are an unfortunate byproduct of the Internet generation… or are they?
Pranksters have had fun anonymously for years and odds are you’ve been a part of it. Remember the days before you could press star sixty-nine on your telephone or just look at your caller I.D. and see who just called you? Back then, middle school students across America (and I am sure the world) got laughs calling strangers and asking for funny names a la Bart Simpson. Other times they called to explain that the poor soul on the other end of the line really should be chasing his or her kitchen appliance if it was, in fact, running. The list of crank calls devised since Alexander Graham Bell are epic.
These were harmless gags born of a generation that knew that there was a line – and common sense prevailed to never cross that line. More importantly, when the line WAS crossed, people involved were looked down upon. Today, though, there seems to be a staggering number of people lacking the “common sense particle” that many of us take for granted. These are people who have such a lack of character and identity that they can only feel a sense of accomplishment being someone else… or no one else… or anonymous.
The Internet has made anonymity something to be exploited for the most despicable means. The easiest example is 4chan – which is genius in its simplicity and at the same time a mental failure for the type of people it attracts. I think a great deal of cleverness has come from 4chan over the years… including some of the greatest “crank calls” of the Internet generation (Been Rick Rolled lately?) At the same time, it’s a haven for (allegedly) posting child pornography and slamming others without fear of repercussion. The terrible things that happen and are caused by 4chan have, over time, overshadowed any good that might have once been there.
ANON has gone from a culture of communication for devious fun to a destructive force. Damaging private property and spreading vicious lies anonymously aren’t the actions of “a good joke” – they are the sad attempts by societies losers to try and justify their own existence… and failing.
The pendulum swings both ways, though, and given time I hope to see the playing field level out on the Internet again one day.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to contact my attorney about sending a letter to Google regarding a certain anonymous blog. Can you say “IP Address”? I knew you could. 🙂