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Day 20: Anonymity is a Double-Edged Sword

Blaugust Entry, Day 20

Yesterday’s post actually split into two, because I realized that some people do decide to share their real selves in the online space.

Anonymity is a double-edged sword.

On the Internet, you freely associate with people who you may not have otherwise. It is much easier to show your true inner self without the worries of first facing the unspoken scrutiny of our outward appearances or social status. If you share a common passion, there is no barrier to liking that person, other than what that person has written or shared through their social media actions. Those who are compassionate will speak out and reach out to people, without regard for who they may be in real life.

On the other hand, you may end up showing too much of your own true self. Those who are not self-aware of their immaturity or capacity for ignorance will speak without shame, and that may later come back to bite them in the butt. It’s also a sobering moment when you get to see who is really behind the online persona and you get that moment of, “oh… she was really a guy”  or “she’s not as pretty as I imagined in my head” or “this person is gay/old/not-white/etc?” or any other subconscious reaction that may assault your brain. It’s sobering because that moment showcases our real prejudices, however minor they may be.

The trick is to understand that there are real people behind the “masks”, and when you finally get a glimpse of their outward appearance, that you not forget who they are inside. Because the face you see doesn’t change what has been said or done. It won’t change the interactions you have had with them, and the face you see now doesn‘t change who they really are. The only thing it changes is your own perception of those people by layering their identities with all of the hidden prejudices you may have previously held.

The Internet lifestyle is rapidly merging with our real lives, and our online identities may begin to merge with our real ones–if they haven’t already. For those of us deciding to hide behind a fake name and fake face, we need to check ourselves when judging those who do decide to share their real selves. Because the comments we make behind the mask show who we really are.

Is that who you want to be?

Onward, to Day 21.

To participate in this month-long blogging challenge, check out the official Blaugust.

Music Challenge Day 7:

A Track-a-day Challenge as an exercise in establishing efficient creative-workflow.

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Posted by on August 20, 2015 in Internet

 

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