TechWeb.com has a story about an interesting phenomenon – an online instruction manual called Anoniblog for people looking to post online without fear of having their identity exposed. The tool, which is published in several languages, is meant to help bloggers who live in countries with restrictive governments; however, as the article rightly points out, it doesn’t promise that following the guidelines will insure safety.
Of course, such tools will likely ratchet up the debate over trustworthiness of bloggers, many of whom are distrusted by established, traditional media groups. Actually, it’s unfair to say that only traditional companies have ambivalent feelings towards online posting. Years ago, at Wired News, we had long debates over the importance of blogging and its role in media – a debate that, as we all know, continues on today.
For me, though, there are bigger issues at stake. I’m 100 percent behind the blogging phenomenon. It’s a gigantic leap forward for the media – even though it hasn’t entirely been embraced. Yet, while the Anoniblog wiki is a wonderful idea in practice, there are two reasons it’s a little disconcerting that there is a public file explaining how to post: the voracity of the information may lead some to land in extremely hot water if they don’t entirely know what they are doing, and watchdogs may find it easier to track down these people if they know what they are looking for.
But, as I often find myself telling colleagues in the media business, it doesn’t really matter what you (or I) think. It’s out there. All that we can do is watch.