Venting on Online Anonymity

People complain that with social media we have no privacy anymore. Everything about our lives is photographed, videotaped, documented and posted for the world to see. However, the other side of the social media coin, anonymity, provides us with just as much to vent about, if not more.

Being anonymous gives power to those who would otherwise not have the courage to speak out. While that can be a good thing for those who are oppressed, it is a dangerous tool for those who are up to no good. This is because anonymity allows individuals to say things without consequence.

From a psychological perspective, anonymity seems to decrease a person’s adherence to social norms. Things that they would never say to someone face to face, are somehow “ok” to say anonymously. Some psychologists have termed it the “online disinhibition effect.”  Even otherwise good-natured people can fall victim to the disinhibition effect. The following links go into more detail about this.

via Anonymity can turn nice people nasty – Health – Behavior | NBC News

via The Psychology of Online Comments | The New Yorker

The real problems occur when mean-spirited people take advantage of being anonymous. The cloak of anonymity becomes much like Superman’s cape, serving to empower and protect them, when in reality they are a far cry from being heroes.

Anonymity makes it easier to spread hate, lies and rumors. The ability to remain anonymous online has resulted in cyberbullying, harassment, racism, defamation, catfishing, hacking, financial fraud, viruses and crime. There is no policing this either. Anyone can do it. An anonymous post on any subject can come from someone with absolutely no credentials or authority.

For everyone’s sake, anything written anonymously should always be taken with a grain of salt. If someone is unwilling to stand behind their comments, then they probably aren’t worth paying any attention to.

As we always say, live an AUTHENTIC life. Don’t fall victim to the lure of anonymous posting, and don’t give any credence to the anonymous posts you read.


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