Fanonymity: An investigation of motivations for being anonymous in online fandom

by Damian, Raeleen V., M.A., CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, FULLERTON, 2008, 117 pages; 1449454


Past investigations have explored the issue of online anonymity and its characteristics, benefits, and social quandaries. Little research, however, has focused on anonymity in the context of online fandom. Anonymity in fandom, or fanonymity, involves the fan's (1) limited disclosure of identification information to other online fans, and/or (2) the concealment of online fan activities from those in their tangible social networks: family members, friends, colleagues, peers, and others in "real life." Through e-mail interviews with individuals recruited from an online fandom discussion and analysis community, the investigation found that the former is motivated by the desires for preventing crimes from being committed against them, career preservation, personhood preservation, avoidance of online harassment, maintenance of privacy, and maintenance of online personas. Desire to avoid disapproval, maintain one's professional reputation, and maintain one's freedom of online expression justify the latter. Each of the motivations for both aspects of fanonymity is seen as a measure of self-protection.

AdviserGenelle Belmas
Source TypeThesis
SubjectsMass communication
Publication Number1449454

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