Businessweek Archives

The Revelation of Anonymity


Anonymity online has always fascinated me. I am a big believer in the notion that what people don’t say is just as revealing as what they do say. How you act when you’re using an alias isn’t an aberration, it’s just another aspect of your personality that you’re letting free through the anonymity. That can be freeing in the most base or more enlightened ways, but hey, it’s always you.

Which is why Pete Blackshaw is so right that the scandal around Whole Foods has staying power. The WSJ is reporting that the Whole Foods CEO used an alias to take part in discussions on Yahoo stock forums for years and, as it turns out, diss, a company Whole Foods ended up acquiring. Because now, what Mackay has portrayed as a public CEO—champion of organic foods, a company with ethics,—is now being paired with this glimpse of someone whose actions are either farcical or pettily egocentric—or maybe illegal, depending on your point of view.

Ok, so suddenly we have a view of someone who promotes more ethical treatment of animalas after being confroted with how they are treated—as well as someone who praises his company anonymously and compliments himself on his hair cut, saying he thinks he looks cute…

Oy.


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