The Power of Anonymity

Anonymity is nothing new—it existed long before blog comments, internet or the note you might have gotten from your secret admirer back in the fourth grade for that matter. But it has an inarguable, universal appeal and that is freedom of expression without the fear of outside judgment. We don’t like everything which is mainstream and we fear to admit it in front of people. That’s where anonymity comes in for the rescue of the real you. Steve Jobs was a great man? Even when we knew he made billions of the backs of the children in China. No one will say this in front of a crowd but if granted the anonymity that same person will not hesitate for a moment.

If people are asked to discuss if bad people deserve to die. Well most of them would give a politically correct answer that is, “It’s just wrong to kill people!” Of-course that’s what they are bound to say. That is the correct response right? Humans will always try to maintain an image when they are in public, most are too afraid to share their viewpoints because they are afraid of what others will think. But on the internet where one can be anonymous we see a lot of articles in support of these kinds of things.

I have been a regular user of an online community for years, and what I have noticed about being anonymous is that people enjoy the game that often comes with having no identity. They like creating personas to ‘troll’ other members. There are two types of internet folks: those who act the same offline and online, and those who are different online and offline. Ultimately, the feeling of being anonymous gives users somewhat of a poetic licence to be outrageous or aggressive about something which they feel needs attention. It promotes a freedom which we all have the right to and online groups certainly prove this right.

Anonymity gives you the power of being invisible. You can see people reaction and enjoy it all without letting them know who you are and this was main reason why we had a surge of Confession Page few years back on Facebook.

Some people don’t want followers in their life or on their social profiles. They prefer anonymity. For them anonymity is like Freedom. Freedom from being judged. They feel satisfied when people like their alternate ego on the internet or in the real life. One big example of this kind of anonymity is pop artist Sia.

We all need some dramatic examples to shake us out of mediocrity. With an identity we can be criticized to the point where we cannot take it all. Being anonymous one can be indestructible, everlasting.


So is being anonymous a bad thing?

Being anonymous tends to bring out the mob mentality, selfishness and aggression in people. Look at online trolls, or the way people behave when they’re deindividuated (e.g., given a number instead of a name; wearing a mask; part of a large crowd, etc.). Even preschool children cheat, lie and push more when they’re wearing a mask. So in that respect, being anonymous can be bad, as it drives anti-social behavior.

However, anonymity also protects people who are in fear of persecution. Whistle blowers are a good example of why anonymity is necessary. People can express themselves without fear. That’s the reason well-run democracies have secret ballots. You can vote one way and say you voted another way. Chat rooms are full of people who hate their jobs, their spouses, their lifestyles—and openly discuss these feelings anonymously.

So the question arises that how powerful is anonymity in the real life?

The answer to this question depends upon that how far can a person go if granted anonymity. One can bad-mouth anyone or one can hack some big organisation and get away with it. Anything between these two extremes can happen so it all depends upon how much of the freedom one has by being anonymous. So in short power of anonymity depends upon the freedom it grants.

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4 thoughts on “The Power of Anonymity

  1. Kudos. A truly brilliant post. This topic totally touches on a few important facts which on a personal level, as I’ve invested the better part of these past 3-4 months going through research pertaining to those facts, comes through as a kind of validation that I am headed in the right direction. Yes my friend… Given a mask, number, any form of anonymity or in essence, the ability to voice ones truest emotions and thoughts without fear of judgements, repercussions or moral obligations has been tried and tested to bring out an animal that is uncontrollable. A confrontational, hateful, aggressive and pathological persona which seems to lurk beneath the surface of even the most sensible, peace-loving and almost pure beings we could ever know. The sad truth is that we do need such mediums to allow some sense of security for the meekest of souls and yet even they succumb.

    Liked by 1 person

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