Once more on anonymous blogging

Our discussion of NT Wright’s comments on anonymous blogging came to mind as I was reading Graham Ward’s The Postmodern God.

Surfing the net is the ultimate postmodern experience … Time and space as conceived by empiricists collapse into omnipresence and multilocality. And the ride is continuous, for the electronic tide maintains you on the crest of impending satisfaction, far above any ocean floor, fast forwarding toward endless pleasures yet to be located and bookmarked. Time disappears, boredom is deflated. The drug of the ever new, instant access to a vast sea of endless desire which circulates globally; browsing through hours without commitment of any theme imaginable … Cyberspace is an undefined spatiality, like the contours of a perfume, and you are an adventurer, a navigator in uncharted waters, discovering the hero inside yourself. You act anonymously, simply the unnamed, unidentifiable viewpoint of so many interactive network games, and where an identity is needed, you can construct one (xv).

Has Ward got it right? Is cyberspace the “undefined spatiality” and we the “unnamed, unidentifiable” adventurers who construct identities of our own chosing only when required?

If so (I have not given this much thought before now), then perhaps anonymous blogging is symptomatic of a more basic issue: cyberspace and its allure of “omnipresence and multilocality”.  Is it an overreaction to say that what cyberspace offers (albeit an illusion) threatens to erode a properly Christian account of human embodiedness? Human creatures stand within the temporal frame and limited by finite bodies, and at least according to a Christian doctrine of creation, these limitations are God’s blessing, part and parcel of the world over which he said, “It is very good.”

My comments are spare, but they at least gesture in the direction of a Christian, theological account of cyberspace. I am sure work has been done in this area, but I have not come across it. Any suggestions?

8 thoughts on “Once more on anonymous blogging

  1. The whole discussion of whether blogging is an appropriate vehicle for Christian expression is one that must take place, but missing in much of what I read is the whole notion of moderation. I enjoy and learn from blogs like this one and others of its ilk, of which their are many. Do I do other things? Yes. Do I interface with actual people in real life? Yes.

    Some of the overheated talk against blogging reminds me of some of the arguments I have heard against the use of alcohol. True, some people should never touch it. But many others are able to partake of it in a healthy and profitable way. It is not evil.

    So I cannot accept the argument that this new medium is intrinsically harmful. When Christians start labeling things evil, they often would do better to examine their own hearts and souls, where the problem often is located.

  2. Anonymity in blogging is nearly impossible unless you are incredibly determined to remain hidden. Programs on the web such as “blogtracker” will consistently give the owner of the blog information about those who traffic the blog including IP addresses and geographical locations. While someone may remain nameless and faceless, even a small amount of amateur sleuthing could unmask the identity of an unnamed blogger. Unless a person goes to extreme lengths to not reveal IP information like using a different public computer at a coffee shop or a public library, anonymity would be difficult to maintain. Even if a person went to such lengths to hide his/her identity, I believe it would be fair to question motives at the outset appropriately wondering why anonymity was deemed necessary to begin with. The answer is almost always revealed in the “why?”

  3. Pingback: Is Cyberspace Evil? Thoughts Toward A Christian Ethic of Blogging | When I Survey . . .

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