|Click here to 2channel (Japanese)|
|Click here to his interview|
Japanese tendency to become anonymous online has been discussed by many critics and researchers for a long time. For example, Japanese tend to stay safely within the circle of friends and rarely reveal themselves to strangers, whereas Westerners (especially Americans) live in the identity-centric world of facebook and push themselves hard to the public. Contrast between Westerners and Japanese is often put into other frameworks such as those between West and East, independent and interdependent, autonomy and affiliation, and the most common of all, individualism and collectivism. These kinds of dichotomy are easy to understand and widely held by many people, but there are some critics and researchers who are fairly skeptical about these views. According to them, there are so many social and cultural factors involved in this phenomenon of anonymity. To examine it more in detail, one has to change the paradigm of the analyzing framework. To start with, they introduced the Social Identity Model of Deindividuation Effects (SIDE model) to check how anonymous the person is on the Web. They set three phases: the lowest degree of anonymity is Visual Anonymity, in which the person still retains some connection to the real life. The second phase is called Dissociation of Identity. In this phase, the person adopts a new online identity such as a handle name or graphical avatar. There is no explicit trace that connects the person to the real world any more. The highest anonymity is Lack of Identification, which seems to perfectly fit the person who posts comments on 2ch anonymously. Media researchers Nicholas Bovee and Robert Cvitkovic point out the feature of the Visual Anonymity stage as follows:
... vidual anonymity encourages individuals to perceive the self and others less as individuals and more as representatives of a social group. This, in turn, sensitizes interactants to the social norms embodied by the group, and fosters group-normative behaviors that are consistent with these social norms. (Bvee and Cvitkovic, Anonymity in Computer-Mediated Communication in Japanese and Western Contexts - Comparisons and Critiques - 2010)
Still, I 'm quite sure why so many Japanese still have a very negative view of the Internet, or more specifically the social networking sites. Most of this impression attributes to the media coverage on TV and newspaper in the late 1990s and early 2000s. They reported the cases such as insurance murders, group suicide, and prostitution that were triggered by the Internet. All the bad news was described as "the dark side of the Internet" and associated with the Internet and social networking sites. In recent years, many people happen to write about their unlawful or unethical conducts on their blogs, Twitter, or facebook by mistake. For example, a college student confessed that he cheated at the exam and a waitress revealed that a celebrity made a hotel reservation as a couple. Soon an outrage arose on the Internet at the people who reported the events. In these cases, the reporters were soon identified by anonymous Internet users and their "misconduct" were immediately reported to their college and workplace blaming the college and company for their lack of responsibility of supervision. The ongoing situations were also posted on websites such as 2ch and many viewers enjoyed watching how the stories went. The careless and poor Internet victims finally had to delete all their accounts of the SNSs and some even had to leave the workplace. Many young people in their twenties and thirties know that this can happen to them any time. That's also a reason why Japanese people rarely reveal themselves to strangers especially online.
|Click here to 4chan|
Question for the final examWhich type can be considered as NOT anonymous online?
1. A person who reveals only his/her handle name and avatar.
2. A person who gives only his/her email address with no face photo.
3. A person who gives a some body's name and face photo.
4. All of above.
The answer can be found in my comment below.