Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Anonymous: An equal playing field for all?

Dear Ms. Coleman,

I found your article “Anonymous: From the Lulz to Collective Action” to be an especially interesting read, particularly because it is very current. To me, the concept of a virtual world like Anonymous or Second Life is frightening, and being that there has been such a continuous shift of the amount of personal information that people do and don’t shield on these sites, the results and how people can be sucked and alter their identity can be scary.

Many people rely on these sites to escape the real world, perhaps as a form of reinventing themselves, or just so they don’t have to show their real selves in public for what could be due to embarrassing reasons. People can't just do this on Facebook or Twitter where they are immediately attached to their actual identity, especially with all of the photos and posts, and even the username itself.

You talk a great deal about how people use these sites as means to act against political activity, like the Church of Scientology and have even gone as far as organizing a global day or action, which were sets of protests in major landmarks across the world. You later talk about Anonymous’ revolt in support of Wikileaks, Paypal, Mastercard, and Amazon.

Like you write: “Anonymous is open to all and erects no formal barriers to participation.” Since anyone has access to this site, what is shared can be potentially detrimental, and cannot be traced back to the sender. Since there is no stated leader and everyone is on the same level, chaos could ensue. But you do also bring up a good point; since there is no “leader,” there is no one with a celebrity sort-of status to be idolized, but instead everyone is seen on the same level playing field. I agree with the quote you mentioned by Mike Wesch which says that Anonymous is “a scathing critique of the postmodern cult or celebrity, individualism, and identity while serving itself as the inverted alternative.” Yes, a world that isn’t so hooked on celebrity status, but instead seeing everyone as more-so equals is ideal, but I don’t feel that this has to go all the way to everyone covering up their true selves.

Thank you for talking the time to read my opinion.


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