Privacy and SNS: generational differences in managing privacy and disclosure


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Intervento di Nicoletta Vittadini (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore) al convegno Social media: Transforming audiences (Londra 2-3 Settembre 2013)

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Privacy and SNS: generational differences in managing privacy and disclosure

  1. 1. Social Media - The Fourth Annual Transforming Audiences Conference. University of Westminister September 2-3 2013 Privacy and SNS: generational differences in managing privacy and disclosure Nicoletta Vittadini
  2. 2. Premises “"the claim of individuals, groups, or institutions to determine for themselves when, how, and to what extent information about them is communicated to others” (Westin, 1967, p. 7). “The right to an inviolate personality” Warren & Brandeis 1890). The right of the “immunity from the judgment of others’” for some aspects of a person’s life (Johnson 1992: 272) The right to define and manage the hiding and disclosure of personal informations according to the audience (Altman 1975). Privacy is ‘what’s left after one subtracts…the monitored (ndr through SNS profiles), and the searchable, from the balance of social life’. (Lessig 1998)
  3. 3. Premises The concept and the meaning of privacy changes according with different cultures (and peer cultures) (Dourish & Anderson 2006, Lewis 2008) Which contents are “private”? Which kind of space is Facebook? Which benefit do I have using it? Users behaviours “balance” privacy and benefit of using Facebook
  4. 4. Premises “Audiences”: public or private profiles (Stutzman e Duffield 2010) “Contents”: who can access a specific content (“friends lists”) “Sharing”: who can “use” personal contents “Context collapse”” (boyd 2008). “While social convergence allows information to be spread more efficiently, this is not always what people desire. ..control is lost with social convergence”
  5. 5. A question - Cultural unit: “a cohort of persons passing through time who come to share a common habitus, hexis and culture” (Eyerman and Turner 1998, 93). - The management of disclosure and revelation of personal information acquire 8especially in SNS) the status of a collective ritual contribute in building, the so-called “we sense” of generations. Does “generational belonging” affect users behaviours regarding privacy?
  6. 6. Empirical remarks - 120 qualitative interviews in Italy - People from 13 to 54 years old - Topic: Online social relations and identity: Italian experience in Social Network Sites - Preliminary analysis of respondents living in Milan
  7. 7. General remarks Facebook user user user Other companies informational privacy (DeCew 1997). Protection of personal informations regarding everyday activities, economic status and lifestyle. User User User User expressive privacy (Tufekci 2008) Protection of the process of personal identity building from third party’s interference. Control over information shared about oneself (self reputation online)
  8. 8. General remarks What is “private”? Feelings. Expecially negative feelings (as sadness) Personal data and informations (religion, political orientation)
  9. 9. General remarks How can I manage it? Contents I don’t post about ….; I don’t tag; I don’t geotag Networks I build my network in order to express what I want on facebook Facebook is a public space Facebook is a (crowded) party
  10. 10. Generations Generations (in Italy)
  11. 11. Younger boomers “facebook is a public space” Privacy is managed “ex ante”: • Some contents are off topic • negative feelings as sadness are off topic • political orientation and personal tastes are on topic • Some people are off network • colleagues Isn’t a real concern: I do not have the nightmare to be controlled and I have no reason to worry if someone controls me (m 45-54). I'm not posting personal things except the photos of my nephew’s birthday. If someone uses that picture what should I do ? (f 45-54) • “friends lists” are used in a very simple way and only for specific media as photos • chat as a more intimate space isn’t used • tagging and geolocalization are used and not controlled (very low literacy)
  12. 12. Generation X “Facebook is an entertainment” Is a question of “identity” control: I found a conversation with a picture of me that has nothing to do with me ... I do not like that I can’t control it ... I have little chance to resize things ...(f 35-44) The control over one’s identity is “ex post” excluding people who don’t respect the right of an “expressive privacy” Privacy is managed through: • Contents: • Self-coherence "You decide what you post ... my account ... is very consistent with me "(35-44 m) • Emotions and personal feelings are off topic • Political orientation and personal tastes and Everydaylife’s tale (also through photos) are on topic • Networks • Colleagues are off network • “friends lists” are perceived as annoying and redundant • chat as a more intimate space isn’t used • Tagging is used and allowed in some cases after approvation • Geotagging is perceived as intrusive and a form of social-control and not allowed
  13. 13. Generation Y “My life is on Facebook” Is a question of “context collapse” (especially about photos) I have a lot of photo album and there are a lot of information about me. There is a part of post very personal. So sometimes I read them and think they are too personal. I set the privacy and block them (f 25-34) • “friends lists” are used • chat as a more intimate space is sometimes used • Tagging is controlled, used according to the “unwritten rules of the peer group” and allowed after approvation • Geotagging is used but perceived as dangerous Privacy is managed through: • Networks • Management of the content’s accessibility • “Generational networks ”facebook belongs to our generation” (f 25-34) • Contents: • Emotions (negative) and political orientation are off topic • Photos are “under control” • Unwritten rules of the peer group • Selective tagging according to the preferences of friends • Post with underlying meanings which can be understood only by friends
  14. 14. Generation Z “Facebook is an expressive tool” Is a question of a gradient of intimacy If one don’t want to let everybody know something, he can write it in chat (f 13-18) If I have to maintain a relationship I do it in private messages or chat (f. 19-24) Privacy is managed through: • Basic tools: • Public or “only friends” profile • Chat vs post • “Ex post” activities • Deleting photos, tags, contents and comments which aren’t coherent with one’s public image • Complicity • Sharing and posting contents with underlying meanings • “friends lists” arent used • chat as a more intimate space is the privacy tools • Tagging is controlled, used according to the “unwritten rules of the peer group” and allowed after approvation • Geotagging is perceived as dangerous but used
  15. 15. Conclusive remarks Early boomers Media as a public space Privacy: social control Illiteracy Generation X Media as an entertainment space Privacy: identity consistence Partial literacy Generation Y Media as a social spce Privacy: context collapse control Relevance of the unwritten rules of the network Stratification of “communication styles” Generation Z Media as a performative space Privacy: control of different levels of self expression Stratification of “communication styles”
  16. 16. Conclusive remarks Control is a paradox The paradox arises when control over the publication of information (deciding what to publish, when and to whom make it visible) saturates the need to protect data and makes less compelling and meaningful monitoring them. Friend’s lists are “annoying” Managing friend’s lists clashes with the complexity of social relations . ”There is …tension between the desire for reliable control over their information and the desire for social interaction unplanned" (Grimmelmann, 2008) Except for Gen X
  17. 17. Conclusive remarks Unwritten rules (Peers network Generational networks) Software tools Privacy is social: “social privacy” means that “once private information is disclosed or others are granted access, the information moves from individual ownership to collective ownership. the original owner and co-owners coordinate the management of information” (Child e Petronio, 2011)
  18. 18. Conclusive remarks Privacy is a balance between: - The benefit and the pelasure to share informations (disclosure) - The control over personal informations (privacy) Early Boomers: public discussion about personal interests Generation X: the “edonic” dimension of building identity tales Generation Y : the benefit of sociality Generation Z: the benefit of self expression and performativity
  19. 19. 22-05-2013 Thank you! Nicoletta Vittadini @nicovitt