I recently heard a question about the impacts of being named or anonymous in a community. In a comments section and social media world, the question sparked a lot of thoughts about how anonymous versus non-anonymous interactions stack up and play out. These apply to how we consume information and ask for feedback. It’s something to think and talk about.
Anonymous, online or otherwise, lets people act without any skin in the game. Sometimes it has to be that way. Sometimes people need to have their identity protected. Sometimes it gets better information into the table, sometimes it makes things worse.
Other times, usually when stakes get high, being non-anonymous can help. Having a face behind a statement or a source of accountability can mean a lot. It’s old school, but sometimes non-anonymous is the only way to ensure real quality and credibility.
If we ask for anonymous input, we need a reason for why it’s still of quality and credibility. If we don’t, and especially if we want people to have skin in the game to make sure quality and credibility are upheld, we should go the non-anonymous route.
If we look at anonymous or non-anonymous input, we need to ask why it’s there and why we’re seeing it when we are seeing it. “Likes,” “followers,” “comments,” “reviews,” etc. can all be bought. Filter bubbles can exist inside communities of either type (including mixed).
Whether it’s social media or the suggestion box, the faces of our companies or the comments section on the website, anonymous or non-anonymous relationships and how we engage with them is a conscious choice. Quality and credibility are always on the line.
We want to stay aware of what’s going on around us, and when it’s our time to choose – choose accordingly.