A Walk Through A Slide:
The fourth slide in my section of this group’s Pecha Kucha presentation was a crying frowny face. During the slide in question, I discussed how some people use their anonymity in very negative ways. Some use it to harass and torment others. In this part of my narrative, I referenced the case we read about in which a character on LambdaMOO named Mr. Bungle trapped female users into a virtual room and forced their avatars to have sex with his avatar. While this was all virtual, it had very real effects on the victims. Just because it was a “cyber-rape” doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be taken as seriously as a rape case in the real world.
This is the thing many fail to see about anonymity online. While you may think that since it’s online, no one gets hurt, you’re sorely mistaken. When someone is constantly harassed and tormented on the internet, it has serious repercussions on their mind. These cases of harassment lead to self-harm, even suicide, in those who are being harassed. Just because the harassment takes place in the virtual world doesn’t mean it doesn’t affect the real world.
I chose the crying frowny face or this part of my narrative because although it is simple, it represents the feelings of those who are being constantly tormented on the internet. It doesn’t come anywhere close to what they’re really feeling inside, but it’s a good representation of my purposes. The effects of negative uses of anonymity online are forever. They can cause permanent damage, such as self-harm, psychological damage, and even suicide. Just because you CAN say something to someone online doesn’t always mean you SHOULD say it.
What I learned about my topic:
Before starting this assignment, I viewed anonymity online as a strictly negative thing. I am a user of the blog site Tumblr where anonymous comments are usually negative and biting. I have disabled anonymous comments on my tumblr because of the amount of anonymous harassment that occurs. I assumed this was the same with all sites as being anonymous online provides a weird power that can get to many people’s heads. They use it to say whatever they want to say, and what they want to say is usually mean and rude.
Then, I was assigned this blog project on anonymity. I figured I’d be writing a ton of blogs about the suicides that occur from the anonymous harassment that runs rampant throughout the online community, but I was wrong. In this assignment, I learned that there are many different aspects to anonymity. Some people use their anonymity for good, despite the myriad of people who use it for negativity and harassment. Anonymity removes and obvious bias that may be present when writing non-anonymously. This allows users to write their opinions without anyone immediately writing them off because of any obvious bias (such as gender, age, ethnicity, etc). This is a very wonderful tool on the internet, and I feel as though it’s underused.
Overall I learned that while anonymity is used for negativity a lot of the time, it does have some very positive outcomes. Some people on Tumblr will use their anonymity to counteract the negative anonymous comments that come through. Anonymity makes it so it doesn’t matter who the positive comment is coming from, it just matters that someone says it. Though the negativity of anonymity is heavily present throughout the web, it does have its positive outcomes that I feel should outweigh the negative ones.