For one reason or another, you may find yourself wanting to publish things online anonymously. Now to some, the “A-word” conjures up images of hackers, Guy Fawkes masks, and people generally saying terrible things to each other on Twitter. There’s long been an ongoing debate about whether anonymity is something that should even be allowed on the Internet.
Yes. Yes it should. There’s no doubt that there are terrible people in the world; but anonymity is a powerful tool for good as well. Here are some of the more obvious examples:
- Fighting the power: It sure would be nice if we lived in a world where everyone in every government had the people’s best interests at heart. We don’t, and they don’t. Ask Nelson Mandela, or any number of other great men and women throughout history who have fought for progress and human rights.
- Exposing criminal activity: Whether you’re a crime blogger writing about the criminal underworld, or a whistleblower from some large corporation, exposing criminal activity is dangerous. People have died.
- Adult content, and other “culturally offensive” themes: Something as simple as writing your own (very personal) memoirs can draw a lot of unwanted attention from those around you. Even if what you’re doing isn’t morally or ethically wrong by any reasonable standard, people aren’t always terribly understanding. And then, perhaps the people in your life would rather that their personal activities didn’t become public knowledge. Staying anonymous is a good way to avoid unnecessary drama, in cases like these.
- Maybe it’s just work: One of my favorite blogs back in the day was Waiter Rant where a then-anonymous waiter told all of his juiciest stories. He stayed anonymous for the simple reason that his bosses didn’t want any extra drama at their restaurant. Besides, rude customers who might’ve just been having a really bad day don’t deserve the kind of hate the Internet can put out.
- Not holding back: Webdesigner Depot runs a series of posts written anonymously called The Secret Designer. They’re anonymous, because