The Washington Times-Herald

Breaking News

Community News Network

October 25, 2013

Anonymity is fleeting when people are tweeting

(Continued)

WASHINGTON —

@HillStaffer, who has more than 5,300 followers, argues that most accounts "are born out of frustration or boredom." He started his in early 2011 — and yes, he's a he, though he once overheard a fan claim the author was a woman — to mock the habits of his work milieu. (Sample tweets: "99% of the creativity in Congress goes into the naming of softball teams"; "Get pictures of all the members of Congress who force their unpaid staff to work tomorrow. No one is 'essential.' ") And there was never any doubt he'd remain anonymous: Too many staffers had been fired for Twitter hijinks.

He can relate to Joseph. "I'd say he felt like he was originally providing some kind of 5th estate insight," he wrote in a Twitter direct message. But "once you have that platform, and anonymity, it's easy to become vitriolic, as he did. Not saying I think I'm writing the Federalist Papers over here either, but I try to point out hypocrisies with a [Stephen] Colbert-like character."

Other anonymous types write not to vent but to scratch a creative itch. Will Sommer was so consumed with the movements of Washington journalists as he looked for his own job in media that he figured, why not write about it? He blogged and tweeted as "D.C. Porcupine" so his then-bosses at the AOL-owned Patch publications wouldn't know what he was up to — but even with his insight into the company, he made a point of not writing about it. "That's where you'd get tripped up," he said. Eventually, it led to his current job, as a columnist for Washington City Paper. He revealed his former identity when he got hired last year.

Text Only
Community News Network
  • Sunburn isn't the only sign of summer that can leave you itchy and blistered

    You've got a rash. You quickly rule out the usual suspects: You haven't been gardening or hiking or even picnicking, so it's probably not a plant irritant such as poison ivy or wild parsnip; likewise, it's probably not chiggers or ticks carrying Lyme disease; and you haven't been swimming in a pond, which can harbor the parasite that causes swimmer's itch.

    July 30, 2014

  • Survey results in legislation to battle sexual assault on campus

    Missouri U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill joined a bipartisan group of senators Wednesday to announce legislation that aims to reduce the number of sexual assaults on college campuses.

    July 30, 2014

  • An alarming threat to airlines that no one's talking about

    It's been an abysmal year for the flying public. Planes have crashed in bad weather, disappeared over the Indian Ocean and tragically crossed paths with anti-aircraft missiles over Ukraine.

    July 30, 2014

  • Sharknado.jpg Sharknado 2 set to attack viewers tonight

    In the face of another "Sharknado" TV movie (the even-more-inane "Sharknado 2: The Second One," premiering Wednesday night on Syfy), there isn't much for a critic to say except to echo what the characters themselves so frequently scream when confronted by a great white shark spinning toward them in a funnel cloud:
    "LOOK OUT!!"

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • 20140729-AMX-GIVHAN292.jpg Spanx stretches into new territory with jeans, but promised magic is elusive

    The Spanx empire of stomach-flattening, thigh-slimming, jiggle-reducing foundation garments has expanded to include what the brand promises is the mother of all body-shaping miracles: Spanx jeans.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Medical marijuana opponents' most powerful argument is at odds with a mountain of research

    Opponents of marijuana legalization are rapidly losing the battle for hearts and minds. Simply put, the public understands that however you measure the consequences of marijuana use, the drug is significantly less harmful to users and society than tobacco or alcohol.

    July 29, 2014

  • linda-ronstadt.jpg Obama had crush on First Lady of Rock

    Linda Ronstadt remained composed as she walked up to claim her National Medal of Arts at a White House ceremony Monday afternoon.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Can black women have it all?

    In a powerful new essay for the National Journal, my friend Michel Martin makes a compelling case for why we need to continue the having-it-all conversation.

    July 29, 2014

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 1.33.11 PM.png VIDEO: High-dive accident caught on tape

    A woman at a water park in Idaho leaped off a 22-foot high dive platform, then tried to pull herself back up with frightening results. Fortunately, she escaped with only a cut to her finger.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Dangerous Darkies Logo.png Redskins not the only nickname to cause a stir

    Daniel Snyder has come under fire for refusing to change the mascot of his NFL team, the Washington Redskins. The Redskins, however, are far from being the only controversial mascot in sports history.  Here is a sampling of athletic teams from all areas of the sports world that were outside the norm.

    July 28, 2014 3 Photos