Who prefers anonymous self-expression online? A survey-based study of Finns aged 15-30 years

Teo Keipi, Atte Oksanen*, Pekka Räsänen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

The dominance of computer-mediated communication in the online relational landscape continues to affect millions of users; yet, few studies have identified and analyzed characteristics shared by those specifically valuing its anonymous aspects for self-expression. This article identifies and investigates key characteristics of such users through online survey by two samples of Finnish users of social networking sites aged 15-30 years (n = 1013; 544). Various characteristics espoused by those especially valuing anonymity for self-expression online were identified and analyzed in relation to the users in question. Favoring anonymity was positively correlated with both grandiosity, a component of narcissism, and low self-esteem. In addition, users with stronger anonymity preference tended to be younger, highly trusting, having strong ties to online communities while having few offline friends. Findings emphasize the significance of a deeper understanding of how anonymity effects and attracts users seeking its benefits while also providing new insights into how user characteristics interact depending on motivation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)717-732
Number of pages16
JournalINFORMATION COMMUNICATION AND SOCIETY
Volume18
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jun 2015
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • internet
  • social networking
  • youth
  • anonymity
  • SOCIAL NETWORKING SITES
  • TEENAGERS USE
  • RISK-TAKING
  • ESTEEM
  • INTERNET
  • FACEBOOK
  • NARCISSISM
  • TRUST
  • COMMUNICATION
  • PERSONALITY

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