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About the Project

There’s a paradoxical aspect of anonymous web communities: People are more willing to share their deepest feelings and desires with other members of anonymous web communities than with other people they see or physically interact with on a regular basis. My project will seek out members of anonymous web communities in postings through those communities (online) and hacker spaces in the East Bay and San Francisco area. Initially, I will visit a hacker space which I have already visited- Noise Bridge on Mission Street, San Francisco.

In my past experience, all members and patrons of Noise Bridge are anonymous; they come and go as they please, and they have no obligation to contribute anything to the hacker space beyond their knowledge and expertise. Patrons have no expectation of getting to know one another on a personal level, and this facilitates sharing intimate knowledge or experience with anyone they meet. This culture is a mere extension of the same subculture most members are a part of when they spend time online- anonymous web communities.

After visiting Noise Bridge; I will reach out to members on Craigslist, 4chan.org, Canv.as, SomethingAwful.com, and Reddit.com. All of these sites feature varying levels of anonymity while posting and interacting with others online. I will interact with and record face-to-face interviews with as many willing local members of these anonymous web communities as I can find. On top of the interview time and online interactions I gather for the interview portions of my trailer, there is an absolutely overwhelming amount of audio/video and narrative content available online to build a compelling non-fiction story.

My approach for this project is to gather and to construct an engaging narrative which tells another side of “anonymous-” a side which reveals a stronger bond present within normal, physical interaction with other people. The narrative will explain that behind the hacktivist culture and demonized anonymous web users, there are real people who feel accepted and like they belong in a community where people can express themselves openly through anonymity. The target audiences are people who don’t understand “anonymous” and anyone interested in reading my narrative on the anonymous web communities I’ll be researching. Anonymous web communities have a rich history, and this history offers a great deal of content with which to develop my narrative.

I have been a part of these communities since I was a sophomore in high school- for almost 10 years. I’ve seen firsthand that these communities feature a stronger sense of belonging and community than traditional clubs, schools, and sometimes even stronger than the bond people share with their own families. The most important and engaging purpose of my project is to reveal this side of “anonymous” which isn’t apparent to new members of those communities or the general public.

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