A Social Psychological Analysis Of Faceboook

1405 words - 6 pages

Over the last year and a half, anonymous confession pages have been popping up all over the social media hub Facebook.com. Although it is unsure where the first confessions page came from, there is no doubt that these pages can be both entertaining and harmful. The way that sites such as these work is through two sites. First, a “page” is created on Facebook by the organization, group of people, towns, etc. who want to sponsor the page. There is then a third-party site that allows for people to submit their anonymous confessions. There is also three people groups represented and will be referenced to frequently, 1) those who are making the confessions, the confessor, 2) those who monitor the site and make sure the confessions get posted correctly and without too much vulgarity, the moderator, and 3) those who comment on the confessions without knowing who the confessor is, the public. All of these people are vital to the process and are what make them so interesting from a Social Psychology point of view. In an article entitled “Confessions: Schools Struggle with Latest Facebook Challenge” by Claire Knight posted on April 11, 2013 to educationtechnews.com, a website dedicated to helping today’s teachers incorporate technology in their classrooms, a new question is asked. What, if any, effects are these sites having on our students and our schools? In short, it is very easy to see these effects. These sites allow for cyberbullying to run rampant and for inappropriate behavior to be encouraged and celebrated. These dangers can be explained through several social psychology processes such as de-individuation and the fundamental attribution error. While they may not suggest a solution to the problems caused by these confession pages, the processes can help educators and administrators alike to understand where the problems are coming from and give them an idea of where to go next.
De-individuation is the driving force behind these confession pages. Even the public, whose pictures and names are displayed, will either band together to support or destroy the confessor. However it is the anonymity of the confessor that allows for the complete openness of the site. This anonymity means a lack of self-awareness and explains their ability to say terrible things about themselves and other people. Another facet of de-individuation that is playing out here is the effect of the “golden rule” known in the psychology world as reciprocity, the idea of doing unto others as you would have them do unto you. The confessors, through their anonymity, feel as though they can say whatever they want, the public responds by saying whatever they so choose. The Public, in turn, will be as brutal, ugly, and nasty as they seem fit, regardless of how their comments may make the confessor feel. This all leads to aggression from both parties. This aggression is where the largest amounts of racism, sexism, religious intolerance, and illegal behaviors are seen. These are the...

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