Anonymity Can Be a Good Thing

I don’t think that anonymity necessarily encourages people to misbehave or to be offensive, as that can be done by people who don’t hide their identities like me.  I misbehave and become offensive all the time, feeling that there is no subject that is too sensitive or taboo for me to write about, but that is just me being me.  Just by being online your inhibitions are lowered and this is known as the online disinhibition effect and as a result of this people exhibit a lack of restraint and they will act in more outrageous ways.  The people who remain completely anonymous and invisible behind the computer screen will feel safer saying certain things online which they would not say in real life, so this makes them bolder online.  When in cyberspace most people (anonymous or not) will loosen up, feel more uninhibited, and express themselves more openly.

Anonymity along with the invisibility that people feel when they are online often encourages them to think that the usual rules don’t apply, so responsibility gets thrown out of the window.  Since there are no real internet police, even though the internet has become a breeding ground for crime, people feel free to do whatever the hell they want to do.  Maintaining anonymity allows people to say things without having to take responsibility for their views.  Being anonymous could prevent hackers from getting access to sensitive information such personal data, credit card transactions, passwords, and banking information.  I don’t think that anonymity necessarily allows people to reveal who they really are, as I reveal myself all the time in Melanie’s Share Your World and I am not anonymous, but it may make them feel better.  Having an anonymous identity removes most of the pressure from what you write, as you probably get less negative feedback.  I think it is good for people who are shy or unsure and it also creates some mystery which might be a good thing.  I have no clue if being anonymous allows people to fantasize about being someone else who they world rather be other than themselves, and that should be determined by a clinical psychologist.

Written for Fandango’s Provocative Question #168 which asks, “How do you feel about online anonymity?  Do you believe that when people are hiding their real world identity, it encourages them to misbehave or to be offensive?  Or does it allow people to reveal who they really are or possibly how they would choose to be and act all the time if they could?”

13 thoughts on “Anonymity Can Be a Good Thing

  1. I think you covered all the bases, Jim. Some people abuse their online anonymity, but most don’t. They may just not want to have friends or even family members know about their blogs.

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  2. I try to be cautious…although I’m like that in real life…but I’m open….I agree with you….I don’t think anonymity does one thing or another…I’ve seen both ways… a nice person and a 400 lb Guerrilla behind a keyboard.

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