We think of online trolls in the context of celebrity. Those faceless people having something negative to say regardless of the situation. A celebrity cannot walk outside with out a negative comment.
But with the increased access we have with each other through social media comes the invitation to anonymous trolls as well. We would like to think that these faceless people don’t know us and that is why they are saying these hurtful things. But that’s not always the case. When people are allowed to say whatever they may without the reprocussions that come with it, the gloves come off.
We have been afforded anonymity through many different facets on social media. Of course some people go through the steps of making burner accounts to comment nasty things that we don’t ask for, but sometimes we empower the trolls by affording them the anonymity.
Remember that feature on snapchat where you’d post a link and people could leave anonymous messages for you? That backfired on me so badly that I ended up deleting the snapchat app from my phone for a week. — I posted the anon link and came back hours later to comments about my fake confidence or that I should lose some weight, which of course broke my heart. It also back fired on me in the roll of the troll. A crush of mine post his link to his story. I thought I was sliding up on the link to say something sexy and flirty, but instead just replied to his story. I of course was embarrassed and never spoke to him again — I wonder if would have acted that way if I wasn’t afforded anonymity…
Does anyone else remember Yik Yak? It was really popular in 2014/2015…. It swept my college in a shit storm. People would post the most hateful things, rumors that had no shed of truth and even truthful things that they would never admit to a person’s face. At least two people I know of full on dropped out of school due to things that went viral on that app…
But as someone that makes her life very accessible on the internet, I struggle with the idea of anonymity. Our country was partly founded on the right to free speech, and by me putting my life out there, I am allowing anyone who view’s it to form an opinion about it. Those who may or may not having something to say about it.
Should I be forced to accept the role that trolls will have in my online life if I am to continue to persue this path?
Should I be forced to read hateful things faceless people have to say, regardless if they know me or not?
Anonymity can be an empowering thing. Whether or not that empowerment leads to positive or negative actions. So I guess the question I want to leave with you to ponder is, if you were afforded full anonymity would you say or do something that you wouldn’t without it? If you have full anonymity for the day, would you confront a friend? Would you air grievance with family? Would you do or say something that you wouldn’t before?