Monday, January 4, 2010

99 Seats Says Hello

One of the bloggers I've been pleased to follow and get in conversation with lately about the whole diversity thing, 99 Seats, has a post up today revealing his true identity, as one J. Holtham. It's like watching Superman announce his true identity as Clark Kent! Well, okay, not quite as epic. But it still seems like a big New Years.

99 Seats has been insisting on his right to keep is anonymity for the two years that he's been writing pseudonymously. This was born out of his desire to be able to rant against the current theater system while acknowledging the reality of continuing to exist in this system. Sometimes people have been against it. So it goes, I suppose.

99 Seats -- J.'s?-- pseudonymity has always highlighted a series of choices that vocal individuals choose when they decide to go vocal. 99 Seats decided to go completely pseudonymous so that he could speak with absolute freedom without risking his job. Isaac has mentioned that sometimes he speaks more generally rather than focusing on specific organizations when criticizing the industry-at-large so that he doesn't wind up with specific grudge matches. Some people deep in the industry wind up trying to avoid ruffling feathers to the point of not speaking much criticism at all (I can't think of a good example in our field, but I would argue that that's what turned CNBC into the channel that it is today; it's a common affliction in the White House Press Correspondent's pool as well). It's a continuum of choices that continue to come up on a daily basis, and it takes good judgment to keep all of the choices consistent.

I don't have a particular stance on the issues around pseudonymity, so I don't have any particular feelings about the coming out. The reason he gives -- being shifted toward working for a new system rather than preserving a position in the old by this post -- makes a lot of personal sense, and it has always seemed like a personal decision to me.

I guess this is all a way of saying, "Pleasure to meet you!"