Online Anonymity: why it’s awesome V why it sucks

This is actually something that I think about quite frequently. Since I am but a wee lass of (insert young-ish age) I have grown up online. My business has been out there since I had business. My AIM profile littered with Pearl Jam lyrics, my MySpace page covered in photos of the nights I snuck out to the sock hop with my sister’s tube top on underneath my peter-pan collared shirt, and now, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Vine, Cameo, Blogger…you get the idea. 

I entitled this post “Online Anonymity” but what I mean by that does not necessarily align with the standard definition of “anonymous.” The anonymity I’m talking about is when it comes to engaging with others via social media. Yes, both parties are living, breathing, human beings, HOWEVER, there is something about the safety of the keyboard that gives people the idea that they can act in totally uncharacteristic ways. Sometimes for good, sometimes for evil. So, all of that is a given, yes? On to my point.

Let’s get all the good things out of the way so I can get on to my rant. You can write a realistic review of products to purchase, movies to watch, eBay sellers who are out to get you, etc. So yeah, yeah, good, good and all that. I’m sure there are more but it’s not as fun to talk about.

Onto the Suck.

I recently ordered something from Etsy. Yes, I am one of the only people keeping Etsy afloat, I know. Everyone else can sew and I’m the sucker funding their efforts by purchasing overpriced slip-covers. Anyway. I ordered Robbie some adorable pads that go under his G-tube to protect the skin. I chose trucks for the fabric, since he tags the word “truck” onto basically anything. Car? Cartruck. Choochoo? Choochootruck. Daddy? Daddytruck. When I finally received the anticipated package I let Robbie open it, only to find hot pink Dora the Explorer pads. *Cue my completely unreasonable freak-out.* I stomped to my computer ready to send an email that matched my feelings about Dora (they are dark, they are so, so very dark). After using my diaphragm (not that kind of diaphragm) for it’s Godly intent, breathing, I returned from my out-of-body rage and got a little perspective. Okay, so it sucks that now I’ll have to wait a few extra days for something that I didn’t even find out existed until last week, but its probably not worth going Hulk on this poor woman who’s trying to make money by sewing adorable G-tube pads for children who eat through a tube. I wrote a polite email, she wrote a polite email back apologizing and they will be here tomorrow. Okay, moral compass is due North, I feel good about that.

I get on Facebook later that night and my brother’s Mother-in-law has posted an article that has been fairly controversial lately. My brother responded. I read the article, I read his response and thought, “I think that’s wrong.” Or if I were to respond like my husband would, “You are 100% wrong. Could not be more wrong. Wrong and wronger” (I took some liberties but that’s pretty close). I debated for probably 30 minutes trying to decide whether or not to respond. Flashback: someone posts something about circumcision on FB. I respond with what I thought was a casual, diplomatic response. MURDER. MADNESS. MAYHEM. 2,4, 17 responses later I can’t remember whether or not we’re talking about the death penalty or abortion. What just happened? Where’s my water bottle? Can I get a cigarette? I take it back, okay, I take everything back. Everything is blurry and I can’t see through the bloody reckless abandon with which people have responded. Suddenly Facebook has turned into the birth child of Battleship and Risk. Destroy, destroy, world domination, COMMUNISM. I’m so stressed out I can’t even get on Facebook for days. I tried to talk to Rob about it but the beads of sweat have already started to form on his upper lip and its almost as painful for him as trying to split a check with a large party at dinner. I made a promise that day that I would never engage in controversial FB posts again. So naturally, I ended up commenting back. Fortunately for me, my brother’s mother-in-law is close enough to Switzerland that she is probably the most ideal candidate for a FB “discussion,” AND I was responding to my brother who cordially responded back without first donning the online shield of an IP address whilst chucking a grenade straight at my face. Thanks, bro. Unthanks, contributors to the “Circumcision debate of 2013,” you guys are the worst.

I’m just saying, it doesn’t have to be all, “I SUNK YOUR BATTLESHIP, BRO!” Maybe instead we could all channel the neighborly fun of Go Fish, “That might be a good reason to support (insert political figure) but your point makes it harder for me to argue my point. Go fish.” Let’s be honest, most of us don’t know what the hell we’re talking about anyway, right?

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6 thoughts on “Online Anonymity: why it’s awesome V why it sucks”

  1. “… its almost as painful for him as trying to split a check with a large party at dinner.” CLASSIC!

  2. This is so true!!! The other day I opened my mouth – or typed on my keyboard – and participated in a discussion about the freedom of speech on FB. Listen, she started it… that’s all I’m saying’.

  3. When people post outrageous comments to any parental struggles I share or sarcastic remarks I make, it just reminds me to clean up my “friends” list and start deleting people. It’s a great way to weed out crazies from high school who went too granola or who take parenting/themselves way too seriously.

  4. Your thoughts disagree with mine. Since I am a good person (I know this to be true, since I am me), that must mean that you are a bad person.

    Bad people, like tumors, must be excised with the twin scalpels of online humiliation and degradation: You probably smell funny.

    I hope this message has drawn to light your complete inadequacy, therefor causing you to realize my superiority, and thus changed your perspective to mine.

    If not, you’re a dummy-head.

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