Tuesday, April 13, 2010

You Can Run But You Cannot Hide

When the Internet first became a force, the idea of being anonymous seemed to make it all the more fun. Very few people used their real names in their email. Creating your on line handle was part of the fun. You could wander from sight to sight in a disguise that you and perhaps only those close to you could identify.

But here is the new truth. There is no anonymity in today's world. At the same time we each now have the unique opportunity to brand ourselves or our business with the stroke of a keypad and barely a dollar spent, there is a cost. That is our privacy.

Monday's New York Times included an article , Unmasking the Commenters. It brought up the discussion of whether commenters, especially on news sites should be identified by name. It is an interesting conversation around the question of individual privacy and worth reading.

It reminded me of advice I was offered years ago when I was in my twenties running wild in the summer in Avalon, New Jersey. People tried to keep their lives private. But there was always gossip. A good friend offered this. If you don't want people to know something, don't do it.

I think the same applies in the new world of cyberspace. If you don't want people to know you are saying something, don't write it. Either have the integrity to own what you say and identify yourself or keep your thoughts offline.

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