The idea of being completely anonymous on the internet is closer to reality with the release of a new, number based social network, Social Number.

Since its inception, social media has largely been about self-promotion and telling the world about yourself, your interests and your beliefs. Upon registration, sites such as Facebook ask users for their name and other personal details, such as their birth date and current location. While some of the information is optional, the network encourages users to post as much information as possible about themselves. Although, in recent years these sites have tried to limit how much information is publicly displayed by allowing users to filter their profile. Other sites, such as Reddit have, since their initial launch, tried to keep the identities of their members private by asking for a username, instead of their actual name.

It's a Numbers Game

When users sign up for a Social Number account they are asked to create a personal identification, six to ten numbers long that will act as their "name" on the site. Once the account is created, users can then choose if they want to add any additional details to their profile. As with Facebook, users can choose how this information is displayed, it can be kept private or can be seen by the general public or their Social Number "pals."

After registration is complete, users can interact with each other, much like they do on Facebook and Reddit, by joining public or private groups or discussions, sending messages, updating their status and searching for friends.

Learning Opportunities

Why Social Number

Before creating their site, Social Number executives started to notice that, despite being a virtual setting, users have no privacy when using social media. By designing their network around the theme of anonymity Social Number wants users to users to be be able to freely discuss topics with like-minded people without the fear of being ridiculed.

We are incredibly thrilled to be tackling and empowering our users to have a free voice, discussing issues that some might deem ‘untouchable’ in public forums,” says CEO and co-founder of Social Number, M.K. “Hot button topics like politics and religion to discussing your boss to substance abuse are some of threads users are gravitating towards. But I believe there are many other topics that people want to discuss openly without the fear of repercussions. It's about freedom of speech. Today, there is very little privacy on any social network, resulting in employees being fired and government interrogations for free thinking. On Social Number, your number is your only identity, showcasing the true value of anonymity.”

Here's the big question we ask. Why the privacy? Isn't the point of being online to be open. Is there not an expectation that since we put ourselves out on these social networks, that the idea of privacy becomes somewhat relative? What do you think? Will a private social network like this (and Glassboard which is somewhat similar) take hold?