Ok. So a silly title just to attract you to read what I have written. But anonymous bloggers do seem to attract their own kind of attention. I think it is a little odd that they should and I will try to give some reasons why they are not folk to get worked up about, or robots if you think some of them are not even human.
Why might one get worked up by realising the Tweeter @I_Don’t_have_a_name is not revealing their real identity? Several reasons come to mind, but let me first tell you a short, true story. When I was very young and out with my mum we came across two people in a park engaged in an activity. My mum said, “Don’t look. Don’t pay them any attention.” To my young eyes what they were doing looked interesting and also odd.
The first reason for not getting worked up by anonymous bloggers, I am going to call them ABs in future, is that they are only doing their naughty stuff, anonymous blogging, ABing, to attract attention. Simple. You don’t have to interact with them in any way. Your choice.
The second reason I can think of is that you disagree with them. Fine. We all have our reasons for believing what we believe. I happen to think it is quite useful to have a few folk to check out who do not agree with me. They keep me honest. I can test my beliefs against their statements. We all know about cognitive dissonance and confirmation bias, don’t we? There is not a lot of danger in being corrupted by their ideas if we hold fast to our own…
Perhaps you worry about the validity of what they are saying. Perhaps they tell lies. So the test for a non liar is to have them say who they are? Really? If you knew, that a certain anonymous blogger was a maths teacher, aged 40+, who taught in a challenging school in the West Midlands, would that make what he says any more accurate? I don’t think so. Look at the ideas ABs have, not just the rants that they engage in, and think about the sense or nonsense they are making. Focus on the message, not the messenger.
Perhaps you think their anonymity is hiding something more sinister. They are not all left handed, I assure you. You believe that one of them is Toby Young, or Michael Gove in disguise. Perhaps they are. They are not. So what? if what they say is nonsense, then argue against them in a manner that blows their argument out of the water.
Perhaps you think they are ABs because they lie. They use anecdotal evidence to prove a point. Like we all do. I use anecdotal evidence to provide and example, a more concrete description of a situation, to try to get my point across. Again, if you agree with what they say then fine. If not, fine as well.
Perhaps you feel a little threatened by an unseen being, a hider in the shadows, or some other literary allusion. Don’t be. They are only the result of electrons. They are virtual. They will never meet you in their AB persona. The power they have is in what they write; the ideas that they put forward. The influence they might have. Perhaps it is this influence they have on others. Are you feeling less powerful than you think they are? Fine. Again it is the quality or otherwise of their argument that decides if they are effective change agents.
Or is it just annoying not to know?
Just hear the words of my mum. “Don’t look, Peter. Don’t pay them any attention.”