A Story to Share

Dan Gillmor discussed in We the Media the importance the anonymity of the internet provided bloggers.  He suggested that this anonymity allowed bloggers the freedom to push the media, policy makers, and corporations to be better institutions and people.  As I mentioned before, the power these bloggers have to push the envelope can be very beneficial, especially in situations where anonymity is the only protection the bloggers have from retribution.

With such an emphasis by Gillmor on the importance of anonymity, I was surprised to read the seemingly contrary attitude taken by Scoble and Israel’s in their book Naked Conversations.  They discuss, at length, the humanizing aspect of corporate blogs.  In fact, they quote Lenn Pryor as saying, ‘”I wanted everyone to have a face on the site to eliminate anonymity’” (17).  I can’t help but wonder:  How can blogs be anonymous and give a face in order to take away anonymity at the same time? 

After musing over this dichotomy for a few days, the only conclusion that I can come to is that it is a matter of semantics, not contradiction.

Gillmor discusses anonymity in the sense that there is no face or voice attached to the blog, but there is a person with a story to tell and experiences to share.  It is after all, only a person that can call us out on our actions or challenge us to be better—not a computer.  Scoble and Israel (and by extension, Pryor), however, discuss eliminating anonymity by showing there is a person on the other side of the computer.  Their “face” is just a façade for a person telling their story and sharing their experiences.  It is through blogs, Scoble and Israel assert, that corporations show that they are filled with everyday people and thus greatly benefit. 

As the authors note in their discussion of the benefits blogs would bring to plumbers and Gillmor, a journalist, shows through example, other professions should explore and utilize blogs.  The authors brought up Malcolm Gladwell’s book, The Tipping Point, to illustrate how blogs have increased and gained recognition at a exponential rate.  I bring up Malcolm Gladwell to illustrate the benefits of a blog for a writer.  In his blog, he discusses his reasons for starting his blog:  to provide a forum to continue the conversation started in and to amend or correct contents of his books.    

Through Gladwell’s blog, as well as those out of corporations, we are able to see that these people are, in fact, people and that they have stories to tell and experiences to share…just as we all have.


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