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..then does it get noticed? Oh yes. Eventually. The same abundance of numbers that help us disprove the million monkeys hypothesis ensures that no matter how obscure, quiet and out of the way you thought your little corner of the 'Net was - it's not. And well, Shahana Nair Joshi learned this the really hard way. Long story short - she let off steam(according to her) about the boorishness of Delhi men on her blog, and suddenly it snowballed into a North Indian vs. South Indian flame war.
Up until this post, she was another mostly anonymous blogger and her previous posts only seemed to garner responses from friends. As in, she was never one of those celebrity bloggers who have a huge audience and therefore might be expected to tone down the Howard Stern a bit.
Going by her subsequent post, she didn't know what hit her, and now her 15 minutes of fame have let her get published in Outlook magazine - essentially being surprised at the reaction she got and complaining about intolerance towards free speech on the net

The fun thing is that I've faced a similar reaction on a much smaller scale. First, some perspective. This blog has been around for close to 8 years, and in all this time I can bet the regular readership could be counted on one hand. It is as random as can be, and lives up to its name in every way. I rarely write about myself, or everyday events - the biggest tags I have here are 'observation' and 'opinion', and I've made plenty of those. Specifically, I rarely comment on current affairs or whatever's the Twitterati's flavor of the week. (Even this post has come six months after the fact). So as a result, I don't attract many visitors.

A few posts ago, I wrote about my experience configuring an HTC Flyer tablet. I mentioned how it got complicated and marred an otherwise beautiful tablet, while observing how Apple has totally wrapped up all aspects of user interaction.
Lo and behold, the trolls showed up. Right here, on my ickle tiny corner of the web - to insult my choice of tablet for daring to not buy the iPad instead. I wondered why on earth anyone would take the trouble to tell me about this, then figured that the Apple vs. the rest is like a jihad and their fanboys minions have to spread the holy gospel of Steve.

(Aside: Good thing that I set LJ to screen anonymous comments by default. I've let them be, but not approved them hence they're visible only to me. I like engaging in conversation via comments - so I don't like anonymous commenters, especially not one time trolls like this.
Here's the thing. Egalitarian as the Internet may be, it's incidents like this that rub it in your face. The internet is for the masses, washed and unwashed alike. And like Newton's law, a vitriol filled rant on a sensitive subject(Shahana's post, not mine) will have an equal and opposite reaction of bringing out the torches and pitchforks. No point being surprised or outraged at that.
The other caveat is the self censorship that one winds up doing to avoid messy scenarios like this. This is in line with what one would do in real life - you don't publicly bitch about your boss in front of your colleagues after all. The big lie that we all have been implicitly fed is that you are anonymous and unknown on the internet by default, or that there is safety in numbers. There is no such thing, and only the extremely paranoid and technology savvy can make themselves relatively anonymous on the net.
Everything you post will stay on forever, and it didn't require a Facebook to show up and preserve our drunken pictures for posterity. Ask Pamela Anderson - 15 years on and you can still find the infamous tape with Tommy Lee if you go looking. The internet has an infinite memory, and not just the kind measured in terabytes.

The rules of real life and the rules of the internet are not so different after all - if you have something controversial to say but not the patience/guts/energy to respond to the reactions, use a pseudonym, or hide it behind a password (yay for private posts on LJ). Better still, write it using pen and paper in your diary and don't post it online.