Anonymity and Social Media

Facebook is the great thing.

It allows people to reconnect and maintain “loose affiliations” over time easily.  MIT researcher Judith Donath in her article Darwin to Facebook suggests this move from more traditional close, tight, and relatively few relationships to looser ones in more volume and less frequency is an evolutionary development. As we have become more mobile in our lives, Donath suggests necessity has driven the development of new communication modalities like Facebook. We are, after all, fundamentally social animals!

Intriguing, isn’t it?

Regardless of the merits of this theory, many AA’s now “friend” each other and log on every day to keep up with the exploits of their sober buddies.

But are we being sensitive to the dictum “everything on the Internet is public!” It is after all, there for all the world to see and can be archived for decades.

So the question to ask is, “am I communicating in a way that respects another’s desire to remain anonymous concerning AA?” This issue is important because a public forum like Facebook can have a broad collection of “friends” that could include coworkers, family members, and future employers. All these folks have the ability to view each and can draw hasty conclusions about their affiliations.

I have seen anonymity broken on a regular basis on Facebook.  Assume positive intent I hope these breaks are due to a lack of understanding of the nature of social media rather than a lack of respect for a person’s desire to remain anonymous.

I good yardstick is before posting or responding on any social media is to ask “would it be OK if this communication was printed on the front page of the newspaper and stored for years?”

Maybe best to practice a little restraint of tongue and pen.

This way anonymity maintains its rightful place as the spiritual foundation of all our principals.


Similar Posts