The internet is a great place. There is a wealth of information at the mere touch of your fingertips – plus, you know, Tumblr and Youtube and Facebook, all of which are highly important. There are also tons of blogs and blog commenters, many of whom choose to mask their identities. On the internet, there are many reasons people stay anonymous, some nice and some not so nice – as you will see.
Some people are scared to say what they think but still want freedom of speech. However, because they don’t want to risk offending anyone as themselves, they’ll remain anonymous, or even choose a nom de plume. They will create new personas for themselves, and may portray themselves as more outgoing than they are in real life. This is one of the primary reasons people stay anonymous and, in truth, I used to do it myself when I was young!
In the same vein, some people are simply embarrassed of the things they want to write about and publish on the internet. It may be because they know their opinions aren’t popular with their friends, or with the majority of society. They may also be commenting on the blog or social networking site of someone they like, and they aren’t yet ready to come forward.
Sadly, one of the reasons people stay anonymous is because they want to be mean, but they don’t want to hold themselves accountable or face the consequences of their actions. People bully others this way, or express their distaste in vindictive ways to people they don’t even know. This is a huge downfall to anonymity, simply because, if you don’t like what someone does or says, it’s much better to be upfront about it. Be honest rather than hiding and hurting someone else’s feelings.
The internet is a great place to express yourself. Many people stay anonymous because they want to do so without calling attention to themselves. They also don’t want friends and family members to know what they are up to, for various reasons. Thus they choose an anonymous venue, and post artwork, stories, songs, and many other things.
Other people simply want to hide from the people they know – and from those they don’t know. They want a place where they can just do what they want without anyone realizing it’s them. There may be no darker reasons for it, i.e. they aren’t necessarily staying anonymous so they can be mean. They just want something all to themselves.
It’s true that you can sometimes be more honest when you’re anonymous. Going back to some of the above reasons people stay anonymous, they often want to tell the truth privately. They may be brutally honest, or saying something nice or heartfelt to someone they care about, but to whom they do not want to reveal themselves.
Some people come to the internet anonymously because, as briefly mentioned, they want to reinvent themselves. They want to be someone else entirely. They may want to be funny, edgy, dark, or artistic, as long as it is different from their usual persona. Thus, remaining anonymous gives them the freedom to do so, to others they meet online.
Last but certainly not last, a lot of people stay anonymous because they just value their privacy. They want to write about what they want and say what they want without worrying what anyone things. They may not even share it with anybody. This often happens on sites like LiveJournal.
There are many reasons people stay anonymous. Some of them aren’t so great, but many are quite understandable, if you take the time to think about it. Are there reasons you like to remain anonymous online?
Top Photo Credit: Stian Eikeland
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