Does online anonymity encourage creativity?

4Chan founder Christopher Poole (aka Moot) took the stage at SXSW today to defend the concept of online anonymity.

According to Poole, the popular website is currently “misunderstood” by mainstream surfers and often (falsely) perceived as the Internet’s “dark heart.”

However, said Poole, nothing could be further from the truth, as 4Chan’s frenetic message board actually encourage dialogue, creativity and a genuine exchange of ideas.

“It’s riffing on a massive scale. [Yes], people want to think everyone on 4Chan is a young rambunctious male. That’s not accurate – it’s a wide range of people using it,” he explained. 

“One of the things that 4Chan does that’s really special is the way people come together to collaborate en masse. It’s the process at which you arrive at the product that is fascinating.”

Poole said he strongly disagreed with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who previously accused anonymous internet posters of showing “a lack of integrity.”

“Zuckerberg’s totally wrong on anonymity being total cowardice. Anonymity is authenticity. It allows you to share in a completely unvarnished, raw way.

“[Really, the Internet allows people] to reinvent themselves… [Think about it], the cost of failure is really high when you’re contributing as yourself.”

[Via The Guardian]