Angry in Anonymity

Couple of weeks ago, my attention was drowned for awhile into this funny thing. Adi Renaldi wrote a music review about Max Havelaar (Indonesian band) free download single called “Suara Kita Suara Tuhan”. Please find the piece in Jakarta Beat website if you like. I am sure you will easily find the reason why the piece instantly became the talk of the week (or month I suppose).

I don’t wanna discuss about the article anymore. Nuff said. What I wanna talk about is anonymity in the web, and how people react about it. From the first time I opened the link i promise myself not to put any comments in the page. I know this is going to be a surprising piece, but the idea to involved in the discussion is just ridiculous. Turns out I couldn’t resist to write some feedbacks about Adi’s music review.

I wrote my name clearly, Teguh Wicaksono. Wrote two comments. Both using a proper language, stating crystal clear points, strong perspective and leaving some positive critic for the writer and for the website. But when I read all of the comments, most of them are just trolls trying to start a digital fight with another people.

Most of the anonymous gave extraordinarily aggressive reaction, stating unrelated topics and unhealthy feedbacks. Or we could simply call them as trolls. In the end, most of the topics aren’t about the main topic anymore. Wikipedia search result define troll as:

In Internet slang, a troll is someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as a forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion. The noun troll may refer to the provocative message itself, as in: “That was an excellent troll you posted.”

This non-identitical digital world gives people a brand new irresponsible identity to connect each other. Trolls are aware enough when they leaving stupid comments and imbecile feedbacks, but it’s what they wanted from the beginning. The point is to generate fights in the web.

On the contrary, there are some belief, saying that anonymity in digital media would make users more honest and confident when expressing their opinions. If that is right, so the reason why people are more toned down with anger and emotions in real life is because the fact they are known entities in a surprisingly small world. Their identity is also their ticket to responsibility as a human being, a father, an employee, a son, a student, a bofyie, etc etc. In another perspective, people are lying in real world?

Arguably, the very same thing can embolden the basic behavior and norms. Administrators in the  websites must be an effective gatekeeper, maximizing the comments approval function in the comment box. Indeed, passive gatekeeper in every communication discipline is a time bomb.

Undoubtedly, Digital Media is the future. I have faith in it, I am. But. old skool communication is still the best. Things like tone of voice, gestures, are still important. The further away we are from conventional, face to face, real-time communication, the harder it is to exchange messages. Texts are not enough. In the end, it is all about exchanging and delivering meanings. The more digital our communication goes, the more we lose our senses and distinctive norms.

picture: is believed as the troll-face since 2008. The word Troll itself is used since 1980 (Wikipedia)

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