Online Anonymity and its Effects on Virtual Community: A Microdiscursive Analysis of the Teachers.net Public Chatboard
Date of Award
Master of Arts
Dr. Kristina Wirtz
Dr. Sarah Hill
Dr. Vincent Lyon-Callo
Masters Thesis-Campus Only
Restricted to Campus until
Within the growing field of Cyberanthropology, virtual communities represent a venue of study in which participants can actively shape and construct online community norms of acceptable behavior. This thesis demonstrates how anonymity, or lack of a fixed identity, is a destructive feature within online interactions. Through a microdiscursive examination of the chatboard at the website Teachers.net, tension between the desire for a cohesive and supportive community and the negative behavior afforded by anonymity emerges as a constant theme in participant discussions.
Throughout over three years of study of the chatboard at Teachers.net, tension caused by negative anonymous behavior continues to be an omnipresent undertone, often preventing constructive discussions among participants. This utilization of online anonymity in disruptive ways has broader implications outside the message board on Teachers.net; as the number of people participating in online social interaction continues to grow rapidly, online identity and cyberbullying are resulting in tragic consequences, making investigation into the tension between anonymity and online culture increasingly imperative.
Adams, Katyn M., "Online Anonymity and its Effects on Virtual Community: A Microdiscursive Analysis of the Teachers.net Public Chatboard" (2012). Master's Theses. 64.
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