Sunday, August 30, 2009

Anonymity, the "Google Bomb", and the Internet

For all 18.5 years of my life, my parents have warned me to be cautious while going online and surfing the Internet to never put anything up online that might tell people where I live, who I am, what I do, etc. It is for this very reason, along with others, that I have taken up a veil of anonymity online. I refuse to assemble a MySpace or Facebook profile because it requires me to relinquish information to perfect strangers online, information whose secrecy has kept me safe from harm. I even lie online, to keep myself safe. However, it is this same anonymity that has allowed sexual predators to rape, abuse and even molest and kill each of their victims so easily, since they can pose as whomever they want to be online.

I bring this up because recent events have occurred where the anonymous quality of posting online has come into question: a woman is suing Google for releasing her name to a Vogue model, who demanded it after being defamed by the woman in blogs that this woman has put up. The Google employee says that unless it was through a court order or subpeona, the company usually doesn't disclose people's identities.

So with this case comes questions about privacy, anonymity and the right to free speech, according to this recent article in a newspaper. It also talks about "Google Bombing", which is attempting to raise the popularity of a web page during a Google search, which usually involves either something new and/or outstanding and/or extreme. This may point to the fact that a site is not always popular due to its relationship to the truth, but rather other distinct qualities.

One real world example would be radio shock jocks such as Howard Stern, and less-irritating radio show-hosts such as the popular syndicated radio show known as "The Free Beer and Hot Wings Show," where 3 show hosts known as Free Beer, Hot Wings and Eric Zane brazenly talk about certain topics with each other and their two producers, Producer Joe and Associate Producer Steve. The popularity of this show is not for their clean conversations about current events--that sort of [stuff] almost never happens. Instead, it's just 5 guys being, well......5 guys. Candid conversations and teasing one another for their mistakes is a reason why these "fellas" are so liked by radio listeners in the Northeastern quarter of the United States.

So, like the show, the internet is just being the internet. No lawsuits necessary.


  1. Well thought out, but I would ask, where (for you) is the line where words become more than words?


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