It is liberating in the same way that going to a different town or country for a holiday can lead to you being less reserved and experiencing more that life has to offer. It is subconsciously knowing that the repercussions of your actions are (hopefully) temporary, enabling you to be braver and do things you wouldn't normally do. This can be great for those with interests that deviate from the norm - it provides them with the ability to explore them, safe in the knowledge that even if people think they are strange, they can simply create a new persona or use a different social networking resource on the internet when it becomes too much.
It is dangerous for precisely the above reasons - you may get into trouble (disease, pregnancy, drugs,.. to name a few), get tracked down, have your irresponsible behaviour broadcast and published for all to see. If you believe that this is the way life is, you can end up never taking full responsibility for yourself and constantly running from place to place, person to person in an attempt to avoid your own personal responsibilities.
On a side note, LiveJournal encourages social responsibility through the creation of accounts. There is a history to the account which increases the cost to change - i.e. you lose that associated history. For some people who still believe they can escape personal responsibility, this is not a big loss. Thankfully, those people are generally rather easy to spot.
It now appears that this freedom is slowly coming to an end. The general public who use the internet are getting clued up enough to do their own basic investigations, to publish information on those people who try to defraud or otherwise harm others. Mob justice - as much as it can be - is enacted through the internet; email accounts are spammed, people outraged by the story perform their own investigations and add information and further fuel to the vigilante actions. Here are two stories that have happened recently along these lines:
- Story about the revenge a girl is getting on her perpetrators for not returning her mobile phone that she left in the back of a taxi
- Story of a bloke getting revenge on a dodgy ebay laptop seller
I think this is a great milestone in the evolution of the internet as a social networking tool. Fraudsters and others wishing to capitalise on others' misfortune will always be around, taking advantage of new ways to do so. Now that the general public is catching up, the internet will slowly become a safer place for people to interact, knowing that the ability to enforce social responsibility is finally at hand.