These past few weeks from talking to a stranger and from reading John Suler’s The Online Disinhibition Effect, I have thought more about the variations within myself in public and online. Out of everything discussed in the article I found the concept of Minimizing Authority the most prevalent to my online self. Here’s why…
July 10th, 2012 was the first time I interacted with a favourite author on a social platform (in this case Twitter).
Since then I have had authors like, favourite, retweet, and follow me on Twitter. On Instagram, I have received likes from them too. If you were to check my Goodreads friends list you would also see multiple authors. When the above example happened in 2012 I was not kidding in my reply that I ran around my house screaming, and I even texted a few friends about getting retweeted by Cassandra Clare. The next few preceding years I would screenshot these moments and post them on Facebook and Instagram. Today I still feel pretty great when I have an interaction with an author online, but I haven’t screamed about it for years. Now I can even anticipate which authors would like my tweets, so I very strategically tag certain writers more often.
I never understood this phenomenon until now, it is the effect of minimizing authority. In public, author reactions go completely different for me. It took me meeting Cassandra Clare three times to actually speak coherent words that formed sentences. I’m the type of person who when I meet someone I deem “famous” I become a bumbling mess. I’m shyer in person, online I am not intimidated when I get into a Twitter conversation with any writer, or anyone else I admire for that matter.
So even though the internet brings out the worst in people, and minimizing authority can be used for bad. I am grateful that the concept occurs online, for without it I could not thank authors truly and sincerely for their work.