Blogging Employee Benefits

January 27, 2006

Costs and Benefits of Anonymity

Filed under: P&B Blog — Fuguerre @ 8:00 am

The Supreme Court has made clear that anonymous speech deserves First Amendment protection.

David L. Hudson, via Robert J. Ambrogi. Finding the freedom to speak or write without the stifling chokehold of reputation has long been an obsession for me, even before the Internet opened up new forums and tools for doing so. No matter how well I learn a topic and work through its various facets to make it my own and create new ideas for it, something entirely new emerges from somewhere inside beyond by own touch and control when I step out to write or speak on it. That shouldn’t be any less so liberating to my head just because I feel the prophylactic compulsion to slap a Circular 230 disclaimer on every page, nor because I might feel any pressures in the camraderie of professional equals, nor because I might have any general or specific dispute with my partners or the regulatory authorities. Yet it’s so: the name I have to use when my signature is required is too frequently as much an interference as it is any endorsement, as much a weight as wing.

Blogging is not the first I’ve stepped outside myself to speak my mind on the things I know best. From the hours I’ve spent simply speaking out loud in an empty room to the ripe pleasures of exploring the depths of ERISA with someone who cared to listen without having an ounce of knowledge about the terms and precedents, from ghost-writing articles that have seen wide publication among my peers to times when I moved through professional conferences my name badge left behind in the hotel room, from the piles of pages in my office that were never written to be distributed to the megabytes I stored in the search for a blogging tool that might suit my style, I have long had a presence that has enjoyed vacations from identification.

Reliance in this field does require a degree of qualification, notoriety some might call it. An expert computer technician might blog about a medical interest as a hobby, but we wouldn’t want to depend on the product to guide a life-saving surgery. If you will be taking advice on your qualified plan to a session with the IRS, you’re going to want that agent to be enrolled, not just blogrolled. Well, this is not that. I permit this a degree of public exposure for a complex mix of reasons I’ll explore in some other musing one of these light-traffic weekends; and I do appreciate the exchanges these forums permit, where we can share arcane expertise without dressing up in our courtroom suits. But I am not here to market, nor to teach, nor to blow any whistles, nor for any other purpose for which my name might be required. I’m just here for the joy of the free speech.

1 Comment »

  1. […] Been a while since I posted about blogging itself, instead of skating around through recent traffic on pensions, benefits, and compensation. WordPress hiccups force me to take a little break. […]

    Pingback by BeneBlog » Blog Archive » WordDepressed — February 21, 2006 @ 3:38 pm

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