Take a look at some prominent influencers out there. With a few exceptions, the presence they build online over the years can be very different from who they actually are. A person with a conventional day job might be building an art brand online. A retired singer may release tutorials on their personal website. A bunch of ambitious students may be pioneering the next Audio Revolution. The possibilities are endless.
One thing is for certain, anonymity is gaining popularity. We can understand why trolls and radical activists would want to remain anonymous. The question is, why are First-World people unbound by society’s shackles choosing to keep their profiles under wraps?
Moonlighting is cool.
Look at superheroes like Spider-Man, Shazam, Mr. Incredible and Big Hero 6. Not-so-normal people by day, extraordinary people when they’re down for business. Face it, most of us love the idea of having a secret identity and the sense of importance it gives.
Haters are easier to deal with.
Hating is not cool, period. However, you can’t deny that it’s much easier to deal with trolls and haters when your facial identity isn’t revealed online.
There’s a sense of security.
We’ve all heard the axiom, there’s nothing anonymous on the Internet. Yet, unless we’re doing something scandalously wrong or outrageously right, we know no one’s going to invest a ton of money in uncovering our identity should we choose to keep our lives to ourselves. Stories about how stalkers use location tags or constant updates to track people can be frightening. It’s a comfort knowing that we haven’t divulged anything that could potentially threaten our and our loved ones’ identity and lives.
Not that there’s anything new in keeping your identity hidden though. Mary Ann Evans, author of several Classics including Middlemarch, the Mill on the Floss and more, went by the pen name George Elliot. Literary favourite Jane Austen published all her books anonymously.
Back in the days, people concealed their identities to escape gender-based or race-based discrimination, or to simply critique society unharmed (see: Lady Whistledown, Bridgerton). It’s a new and dangerous world out there today. With increasing digital crimes, and the fear of being called out for posting something stupid when you didn’t know better, anonymity is the go-to for many users out there. Like all trends it has its pros and cons but still, can’t blame law-abiding individuals who’ve chosen the low-key life.