Many web users post their opinions and information without revealing their identities (i.e., demographics, social standing, and/or expertise); anonymity has become a common form of information exchange in online communities such as social media sites and Internet forums. In the meantime, negative social consequences have resulted from anonymous activities in online communities. Existing literature reports largely mixed results about the impact of online anonymity on online community outcomes. In an effort to clarify these mixed results, this study proposes a new operational definition of online anonymity that consists of three dimensions: unlinkability, unobservability, and pseudonymity. The data used in this study was collected from 238 online community users through a web-based survey conducted in South Korea. The results show that unlinkability, unobservability and pseudonymity positively influence self-discrepancy, which in turn positively influences the quality and quantity of information sharing.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Business and International Management
- Computer Science Applications
- Strategy and Management
- Management Science and Operations Research
- Information Systems and Management