Friday, July 22, 2005


This seems like the kind of thing that would worry Cynthia, whose blog/secret-identity issues I will not exacerbate by linking just now, not that it matters since the damage is done. (The search engines know where she lives.) Or, it would be the kind of thing that might worry her, if there were anything to worry about yet.

For a piece with the headline "Bloggers learn the price of telling too much," the price does not appear to be very high. This piece is all speculation about how people who overexpose their "lives" and "feelings" online may someday regret it for some reason.

So far, though, some dumb school kids got in trouble for threatening a principal, some girl's uncle discovered she drinks alcohol at college, and a 23-year-old college student suggested to the world a way to blackmail people twenty years in the future. We learn that idiots give out their phone number online, and slightly smarter people protect their overly personal thoughts with private passwords.

Really, this piece is just a primer on what we already know and a warning for the future. I would have appreciated more of the promised price-paying.

The piece does, however, offer this interesting statistic:

Surveys completed in recent months by the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that nearly a fifth of teens who have access to the Web have their own blogs. And 38 percent of teens say they read other people's blogs.

By comparison, about a tenth of adults have their own blogs and a quarter say they read other people's online journals.

A fifth of teens? A tenth of adults? That's really amazing. I know wandering through Blogger feels infinite, but that is more unreadable clutter than I imagined was out there. I had no idea the ranks of losers like us had grown so large. Do you suppose the number will continue to increase? What a scary thought. Right now we're self-indulgent and boring, but at least we get to feel a little different. Already that feeling of novelty is unjustified.

Anyway, let's close with this link:

It's [a terrific] Hollywood story about an assistant using his blog to blackmail his asshole boss into not destroying his career. [Hooray for blogs!]

The moral of the story is that if you can successfully remain just on the cusp of anonymity but expose the character of those around you in harsh, unflattering, but pseudonymous detail, while publicizing your blog with well-placed calls to a radio station, you can create a blackmail bomb ready for detonation at any time, suitable for use as a deterrent. Who says Mutually Assured Destruction is a bad idea?

EDIT: Post altered for undisclosed reasons related to Zack and his fox of Fire. Please pardon his now-nonsensical comment.

ADDENDUM: Realized that previous edit makes Zack's second comment untrue. Apologies for that as well.

ADDENDUM 2: Having remedied the Zack situation, Matt's second comment is no longer applicable.


Zack said...

Kenny, I'm sorry. I have a Firefox plugin that automatically converts every string of text that looks like a web address into a link, and I opened it in a new tab when I saw it, instead of reading ahead to the next paragraph.

If this ruins your career, I'll buy you a drink sometime.

matt said...

Zinged by technology!

Steve said...

Yet you have foolishly made the collossal blunder of revealing your blog to your classmates. Muhaha!

Cynthia said...

I heard that guy on the radio. He wasn't very good. I guess that's why he blogs and doesn't podcast.

i thought to myself "hmmm, i guess i'll look him up when i get to work." and then, promptly forgot about him 5 mins later.

Zack said...

What the hell? You're not allowed to remove a part of the post that I referenced and then not make a note that the post has been updated, either in the comments or the post itself. My comment no longer makes sense. Drink's off.

matt said...

Zinged by technology!