The incidence of negative dialogue within online communities is common when its users maintain their anonymity.
People feel protected by anonymity, and experience fewer social barriers in sharing their – perhaps hurtful – opinions. The ability to express displeasure is an important aspect of anonymity. It allows for an honest discussion of ideas, and encourages a communal search for some of the harshest truths. Habits form quickly when we’re blind to their formation however, and some people make spreading negativity online a habit. You’ve likely experienced hurtful dialogue along with other darker social behaviors online, and can draw from your own experience in that domain.
This article aims to encourage you to become more agreeable while cloaked with online anonymity. The state of being anonymous online allows you to indulge in the uniqueness of others without the risk that doing so in person brings about. You can explore anything you choose to without your name or face attached to your act of doing so. You can understand the perspectives of those who you’d never interact with in the world face-to-face, and can spread genuine empathy whilst doing so. The overall goals, should be you growing as an individual, and perhaps changing the minds of malicious individuals via positive measures. Being anonymous online provides you with every opportunity to do both.
Space to Make Mistakes – Explore Your Boundaries
Allow the online space to be your practice arena for actions you perform in person. The more you practice something, the better at it you’ll be. Online anonymity allows you to practice being empathetic, understanding, and encouraging. It provides you with the opportunity to learn how people react to words of affirmation, and to see how effective you can be at building a community of like-minded individuals. Online anonymity allows you to explore the differences you have with those you disagree with by posing as a friend. It allows you to morph into whoever you want to be, and to thoroughly understand the positions that your enemies occupy.
Perhaps the act of exploring your boundaries will open your eyes to differing perspectives which would not be possible to witness in the offline world. Why limit your understanding by sticking vehemently to your opinions online? Why not be formless? Why put a label on yourself by attacking things you disagree with? Encourage others to share their ideas and learn from everyone you can. Allow the online space to prepare you for when you step out of your door to face the world.
By being agreeable when you’re anonymous, you’ll allow yourself to venture deeper into the minds of others. You can use anonymity to spread positive perspective to those you’d never interact with due to factors which exist in the offline world. Use your anonymity to make lasting changes in the minds of others, rather than aim to silence their perspective. They will not judge you on how you dress, how you wear your hair, and the manner with which you speak. Online, you are simply what you think. You are formless unless you choose to over-represent one form, and you aren’t tied up by labels unless you choose to place labels onto yourself. Explore your boundaries risk-free, and attempt to expand your understanding through positive, altruistic interactions.
Positivity Without the Vulnerability
Spreading positivity in the offline world sometimes leaves us in vulnerable positions. We want those we compliment to react favorably. We desire for our positive words toward people to not be used against us in the future, and are generally careful with who we positively interact with. People pose physical danger to us in the physical world. The person you have a positive interaction with may be a sex offender on the loose, or somebody with an unstable frame of mind.
Online anonymity saves us from the vulnerability of being agreeable in the offline world. You can interview a murderer online without fearing for your safety, and can venture into the darker realms of life without looking over your shoulder. You can see the world for what it sometimes is firsthand, and can encourage positive change in those who are deemed dangerous to society. You can utilize positivity to change perspective, and shine light onto minds which are used to seeing darkness. You can make a real, positive impact on those who are struggling in this world without putting yourself at risk. Anonymity arms you with a powerful ability to make a real change with little consequence. It is a privilege not many have experienced before us, so why shouldn’t we use this privilege to more effectively set up the ones to come?