As bloggers, we've all experienced it: that dreaded moment when you get a comment from "Anonymous" on your blog. And, as is the case with most nameless replies, it's hurtful and negative.
I'm approaching my 5th year as a blogger, and I've had no shortage of offensive (and downright mean) comments. It shouldn't phase me anymore, but occasionally it does. You build up thick skin to a point, but then someone manages to find a soft spot and tear right through. We're humans putting words onto the web, not machines. It's bound to happen. This is something every blogger should know and be prepared for when they begin writing. I say it to others all the time: when you put yourself out there on the Internet, you're opening yourself up for public scrutiny -- both good and bad. Just as you are practicing your First Amendment right to freedom of speech, so are your commenters.
That said, it's not the negativity that bothers me. I truly do believe that it's your prerogative to disagree with me or my writing. It's the fact that you choose to remain anonymous. It's the fact that, whoever thought those words, didn't have the guts to tag their name to the end of them.
Yes, that's your right to be nameless. But it doesn't mean that I respect your choice to do it. I don't. I can't respect someone who sits behind his or her keyboard and bullies others because they know they can hide behind the privacy of the Internet. I can't respect someone who uses the power of words to belittle bloggers who put their names and their stories out there, all while under the protection of "Anonymous." I would respect someone much more who could admit who he or she is in the process of contradicting of whatever it is I've written.
Anonymous commenters remind me a lot of the Great and Powerful Oz. They get to hide behind their curtain and say whatever they want into the microphone in an attempt to scare people -- until, eventually, someone with enough guts (or a pair of ruby red slippers) pulls back the curtain and discovers that they're not so great and powerful after all. Because it's easy to exert your control when you feel like you're invincible to the world. It's not so easy once you've been exposed to those around you.
And take it from this guy. You are never truly invincible. Or anonymous.