Blog Post

The dangers of anonymity

Posted to Gurteen Knowledge-Log by David Gurteen on 27 September 2016



The dangers of anonymity
WeblogGurteen Knowledge Log
Knowledge LetterAppears in the Gurteen Knowledge Letter issue: 195
Posted DateTuesday 27 September 2016 15:53 GDT
Posted ByDavid Gurteen

There are several ways in which we express our ideas or have discussions while hiding who we are.

Many on-line discussion forums allow us to post anonymously or to give a false name and we can frequently express our opinions anonymously in surveys or interviews.

We employ these techniques for seemingly good reason. If we are introverted or lack confidence in our beliefs; they allow us to speak up without fear of judgment or personal criticism.

And in fear of the consequences, they potentially make it possible to be more truthful by saying things that others might not wish to hear.

But anonymity has a serious downside as it encourages us:
  • to be less authentic
  • to avoid intimacy
  • to avoid building relationships
  • to lie rather than tell the truth
  • to avoid confrontation
  • to be nasty and vindictive (think internet trolls)

But worst of all, it allows us to avoid conversation.

I don't want my views challenged.

I want to have my say, but I don't want to hear what you have to say.

It's about monologue, not dialogue.

Anonymity kills the conversation.

If you are interested in Knowledge Management, the Knowledge Café or the role of conversation in organizational life then you my be interested in this online book I am writing on Conversational Leadership
David Gurteen

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