Is the Trend for Anonymity Online a Challenge or Opportunity for Social Media Listening?

Business2Community › Anna Cordes

Our recent 2014 Social Media Listening Report examines the current state of the nation for tools that are available to help brands to listen to, and interact with, the conversations about them online. There are an increasing number of tools available, which can make the process of choosing the tool right for you more difficult. However, as tools become increasingly more sophisticated so does our behaviour online – and this can offer some challenges to brands hoping to implement and learn from social media listening.

We are all sharing more about ourselves online – either through our social media profiles or by what we say in conversations. And we are using a growing number of networks and platforms to do this , with Millennials in particular leading this trend. We connect with friends through Facebook, colleagues and employers through LinkedIn, and the world in general through platforms such as Pinterest and Twitter. The boundaries between our professional and personal lives risk becoming increasingly blurred; as do the boundaries between different communities we belong to. Increasingly individuals do not want these separate lives to touch each other, or at least would prefer to be able to control who, when and how their real identity can be accessed online.

There is a growing trend for social media platforms which offer anonymity. Sites such as Whisper and Secret let users write a secret over a complementing image and broadcast it to the world, while Spraffl (still in beta testing) allows you to post anonymous location-based messages wherever you are, to everyone around you to read and comment on. Similarly, Snapchat, while not fully anonymous, allows you so send self-destructing images which, in effect, remove the evidence of the message having been sent.