What Fresh Hell Is This?

August 20, 2009

PittGirl Fired

Well this sucks but is not totally unexpected.

From KDKA:
Virginia Montanez, also known as PittGirl, was the marketing director for the Pittsburgh-based scholarship program NEED.

Montanez revealed her identity in an interview with KDKA's Jim Lokay on Wednesday.

She said she was fired this morning.
You can read her take on it at her blog.

And some people wonder why so many bloggers remain anonymous . . .



Sherry said...

that really sucked.

spork_incident said...

That's the thing: There are no job protections for political speech (and perhaps there shouldn't be).

I recall an incident in 2004 when a woman was fired after her boss saw a Kerry/Edwards sticker on her car.

What happened to Ginny was expected but that makes it no more tolerable.

And a hearty "screw you" to the anti-anonymity/anti-pseudonimity crowd.

A Spork in the Drawer

Matt H said...

If she would have stayed anon this wouldn't have happened.

Maria said...

Uh, Matt. If you watched/read the coverage, she was quite certain it was only a matter of time (short) before she would be outed.

EdHeath said...

I think Spork and Ms Monahan catch the two sides of the coin pretty neatly. Personally I can't stand a comment thread with ten different anonymice all self righteously talking about how they own companies and treat their employees a certain way or how Doug Shields told them some outrageous thing (and we have no way to validate their claim, let alone their parking) ...

But Ginny Montanez’s experience is proof of the dangers of not being anonymous. Probably some huge fraction of the country doesn’t understand blogging and some sub-fraction is afraid of it (like I am too old and thus afraid of twitter, facebook and myspace).

Personally (again) I think if you are going to blog or comment on politics, you ought to give your real name or at least establish a handle. Of course, if you establish a handle (a brand) like Pitt Girl did, then there could be a constant pressure to out you, for people to discover your identity. Of course keeping your secret might be easier if you are middle aged, short, paunchy white guy with dirty white beard who blathers pompously about health care and birthers, as opposed to PITT GIRL.

No matter what, getting noticed in the burghosphere (or the blogosphere in general) is about the quality of your thought and writing. Anonymity from the get go gives you mystery, using your real name gives you validity (but don’t be too interesting, for fear of attracting someone’s attention, even if it is just your employer).

spork_incident said...

In a perfect world anonymity/pseudonimity wouldn't be necessary.

Ms. Mon - love ya, but having a job shouldn't mean you have to give up your right to speech. The validity of what someone has to say has little if anything to do with whether or not a "real" name is attached. I prefer a pseudonimous blogger who experience has taught me is honest over a Bill Kristol any day.

The "screw you" was directed at the dogmatists.

A Spork in the Drawer

PS: It shouldn't take more than two seconds for anyone to figger out my "real" identity.


Infinonymous said...

I'm not afraid to express my opinion, or to attach my name to it.

Unless NEED provides an adequate explanation of its dismissal of Virginia Montanez, I hope it withers and dies.

Regarding anonymity, I wonder whether disdain for it includes anonymous sources? Should newspapers, regulatory agencies, law enforcement personnel, etc.
reveal the identities of whistle-blowers? Rape complainants? Ostensibly battered spouses? Underground railroad operators? Those who provide tips to police regarding serial killer investigations?

In my case, the name is nonymous . . . Infinonymous.

Maria said...

My thoughts:

Yes, there is more accountability when you attach your legal name to something. You also may get the added bonus of being asked for interviews, radio and TV appearances, etc.

However, would you get as many whistle-blowers without anonymity?

The answer is NO.

Bram Reichbaum said...

Without criticizing NEED specifically -- they only did what is widely considered acceptable -- what is widely considered acceptable is horseshit.

What if you write a letter to the editor, and you get fired? Wouldn't that be considered an outrage? What if you don't run a blog, but you leave comments on blogs from time to time. Should this be considered a dangerous and forbidden activity? Participating in the great conversation around you?

I recognize that "free speech" applies to the government, not to employers, but employers really should respect that their employees have opinions and will enjoy expressing them in their own fashion. This idea that it's acceptable to fire people for publishing to the Internet is disgusting.

Maria said...

CNN's take on this issue (including PittGirl) here

Maria said...

May I say that her reach is WIDE and DEEP? We just had a good 20 minute visit from The Executive Office of the President (Yeah, *that* president's staff) courtesy of That's Church.