This past week in class we were discussing something called The Disinhibition Effect (Suler, 2004) which is the idea that people do things online that they wouldn’t necessarily do or say in real life, face-to-face encounters. Suler goes on to describe in detail the different types of Disinhibition; from Benign Disinhibition, when people show honesty or kindness in their online dealings, to Toxic Disinhibition, which takes on anonymity in a negative and non-beneficial way. I found this article extremely interesting in regards to the recent (last year or so) events that have been occurring in the Young Adult book blogging world.
With the attacks on both bloggers and authors, it makes me wonder what the appeal of adhering to a more toxic disinhibition effect is to some people. I understand the appeal of anonymity in the online world, as it can be a harsh and often not very understanding place. But in a 2015 world where preaching acceptance is the norm, how is that no matter what you say, you automatically become a target for someone?
With the harsh words and rash actions (I’m absolutely referencing Kathleen Hale’s massive encroachment of privacy on a YA blogger) that seem to be running wild in the YA blogging community, the “true self” that Suler talks about brings into question whether or not our true selves are honestly nice? On the other hand, every day I see amazing interactions between bloggers and authors, dealing with glowing reviews of an author’s book, or a mature dealing of a negative review. The actions of some people in this community absolutely do not reflect all, and it again brings up the “true self”. While some of those toxic members of the internet are just that, some of the benign members are truly lovely and are on the world wide web in order to bring something more positive to it. The lack of authority and a freedom from social norms and restrictions allows for a lot, and there are certainly some people who take that for advantage.
What do you guys think? Does your online personality differ from your real life one? Is it amplified when you find a community that you feel a part of, like I have with YA blogging? Or do you tend to sit back and watch more, only putting in your two cents when you feel inclined to?
Let me know below!
p.s Jamie at The Perpetual Page Turner Does Tumblr wrote a post about exactly how I feel in regards to a lot of what is going on. You can find it here!