Back in the day, when MySpace was King and tweeting was simply something the birds did, kids were given some simple advice: never give your full name on the internet, or some basement creep will come and find you.
Things have changed a little bit since then. Instead of being simply known as “emoforeverxx” and have a profile picture of a cat, we’re expected to go by our full names and have a picture of ourselves that is significantly more attractive than how we actually look in real life.
While there was certainly some wisdom in keeping some caution in what you share (creeps still exist!), the unveiling of our identities on the internet has drastically improved the ways in which we communicate online. Seeing the names and faces of the people we message/tweet/DM gives us a reminder that there is a person on the other side of what we say. If that’s not enough, having our names online in a public forum reminds us not to be too much of a tosser… theoretically.
Of course, not everyone feels the need to share their names online. Some people revel in the anonymity of a nom-de-plume, acting like less glamorous and significantly less interesting Gossip Girls.
There are likely many, possibly even the majority of anonymous accounts, that simply go by their business on Twitter, liking funny little tweets, posting Line of Duty memes. But some use their anonymity to be, frankly, absolute gobshites.
Look, I get the whole anonymity thing. Much of the time, I wish my name wasn’t associated with my writing. Anonymity gives you the confidence to take risks- just look at Alan Johnson on the Masked Singer? Would he have been able to have get on stage and sing The Bangles banger ‘Walk like An Egyptian’ without being hidden in a Pharoah costume? Yet sometimes, a little bit of confidence can be a dangerous thing. With a glass of vino at the comfort of their own homes, people hiding behind their screens gain a voice that is unbearable.
So this is straight to the anonymous accounts. You should have the confidence to stand by your words, put a name to your statements. You should have the courage to take accountability for what you say. If you believe what you say, that should be enough. If the thought of revealing your identity scares you, it’s perhaps time to reflect on what you say online. Are you being critical, or a crab? A whistleblower, or a w*nker? Are you being kind? Are you using your voice to be irritating? Rare is the anonymous account using the opportunity to hide their face so they can send compliments.
Life is hard enough without anonymous crabs spreading negativity. Bring the positive vibes, or, if you insist on being a wanker, at least grow some balls and sign off all your big chat with your name.