I was struck by something that happened a few weeks ago.
If you’re on Facebook or any of the social sites, you’ll know of what I speak, likely. Seems that there was a young lady who had quit her job. She announced it in the form of a series of pictures emailed to her former company. In it, she told everyone why she quit and revealed a few less-than-desirable qualities in her former boss.
Bold. Clever. Funny.
Except for one thing.
It wasn’t true.
I do give the website credit for coming forward a few days later and admitting that it was a hoax (in the same fashion and style as the young woman allegedly quit her job). Still bold, clever, and funny… and still, a fabrication presented as fact, for whatever reason the perpetrators had in mind when it was set in motion.
This is a very strange time we live in. We are literally saturated with information. Access to pretty much anything you want to know has never been easier.
It’s also never been easier to pass off falsehood, opinion, punditry, and inaccuracy as ‘true’.
Case in point. I go by ‘anoN’. I pass myself off as a male of indeterminate age; over 20, under 65. But unless you have actually met me and know my connection to the band… you really don’t know who I am. I could be a 15 year old girl. Or 70. Or a collective of people who write as ‘anoN’. You only have my word that I am who I say I am.
And if I am lying to you about who I am… well, what of it? What consequences will I really pay when I can reinvent myself daily? If I am banned from a website for using abusive language…language that very few people are bold enough to use face to face because the consequences would be immediate and painful…what is to stop me from creating another doppelganger and continuing my ways?
It’s not too hard to imagine a world where expertise is less about actual skill and more about perception and who promotes themselves the loudest. I believe we have already taken steps in that direction.
Look. I am not some humorless curmudgeon whining about the good old days here. I enjoy a good red herring. I don’t mind being taken as long as my pride is more or less intact at the end of it. I can take a joke. And I also appreciate the opportunities that taking a pseudonym provides. Otherwise I’d just tell you my birth name.
But I grow wary when deception comes easy. Whether from individuals, communities, or the environment that makes it possible.
I promise you this. I may not be able to tell you everything that’s going on… but I WILL be truthful with you.
And in many ways… that’s a far more dangerous thing.
-anoN (who still claims to me a male of indeterminate age)