Is It Cowardly to Hide Your Identity Online?

If you respond to blogs, news, and other online sites through a fake name, I have one question: Why? What and why are you hiding? Over the years, on this blog – as well as other places I write like Huffington PostCharisma NewsChristian PostFast Company, and others, I’ve discovered that the most venomous, nasty, and uncivil posts are almost always from people hiding behind a fake name. There’s simply noaccountability when you post anonymously. Which is probably the reason Huffington Post, and many other sites are starting to require the use of real names if you want to respond.

Not long ago, Facebook marketing director (and sister of founder Mark), Randi Zuckerberg announced that anonymity “should go away.” She said, “I think anonymity on the Internet has to go away. People behave a lot better when they have their real names down. … I think people hide behind anonymity and they feel like they can say whatever they want behind closed doors.”

I believe if we all posted under real names, the level of nastiness would drop, and the overall level of discussion would go up. Particularly for the Christians who post here and other places, I think we should be accountable for our opinions, accusations, and ideas. In the early days of the Internet, everyone worried about stalkers. But today, simply adjust your Facebook settings if you’re worried and then let us know who you are.

In my opinion, to do otherwise is being a coward. What do you think?

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Phil Cooke
Phil Cooke is the founder and CEO of Cooke Pictures in Burbank, California (cookepictures.com)where he helps church, ministry, and nonprofit organizations engage the culture more effectively. He's a filmmaker, media consultant, and author of "Unique: Telling Your Story in the Age of Brands and Social Media."