More Related Content

Recently uploaded(20)

Managing Privacy and Context Collapse in the Facebook Age

  1. Protecting Face: Managing Privacy and Context Collapse in the Facebook Age Jessica Vitak (@jvitak) PhD Candidate, Michigan State University Assistant Professor, University of Maryland iSchool (August 2012) 1 Theorizing the Web | April 14, 2012 | College Park, MD
  2. How are Facebook users managing context collapse and interacting with a diverse set of friends? 2
  3. What is context collapse? • We present different versions of the self depending on our audience • Could include: • Style of dress • Speech Ego • Non-verbals • Context collapse occurs when we “perform” for different audiences at same time 3 • e.g., weddings
  4. Context Collapse on Facebook 4
  5. How context collapse might impact Facebook use 1) Strength of weak ties (Granovetter, 1973): users distribute content (esp. resource requests) to entire network to increase likelihood that someone will see it and respond. 2) Privacy settings: users employ increasingly granular privacy settings to segment network into different audiences 3) Lowest common denominator (Hogan, 2010): users only distribute content appropriate for all “friends.” 5
  6. Privacy Online Privacy: “selective control of access to the self,” achieved by regulating social interactions (Altman, 1975) Multiple Stalkers Accounts ID Theft Friends Restricting Private Only Searchability Content Employers Privacy Places / Privacy Friend Check-ins Lists Concerns Settings Visibility Hacked Limit of Content Account Restricting Old Inappropriate Tagging Posts Limited 6 Content Profile
  7. Communications Privacy Management Theory (Petronio, 2002) • Relationships managed by balancing privacy and disclosures Privacy (Concealing) Disclosures (Revealing) • Privacy and disclosures function in “incompatible” ways • We create boundaries to Collective Boundary Person A’s Person B’s demarcate both private and Personal Personal Boundary Boundary shared information 7
  8. Boundary Management on Facebook • Default settings emphasize revealing, not concealing • Networks are increasingly large and diverse • Most users maintain very permeable boundaries to personal information and shared content Strategies for controlling access to private information: • Privacy Settings • Controlling Friend Requests/Defriending • Removing Content/Untagging • Not sharing content (lowest common denominator; 8 deactivating)
  9. Study & Analysis (Vitak, in preparation) • Survey participants (see Vitak, 2012) volunteered for follow-up study • Selection criteria: Use of Facebook’s advanced privacy settings/multiple accounts • Interviews • 26 participants; length: 30-94 minutes • Primary topic: Boundary management strategies • Analysis • Interviews transcribed, proofed, uploaded into Dedoose • Analyzed using textual microanalysis (Strauss & Corbin, 1998) 9
  10. Findings: Friending/Defriending • 24 participants (92%) set profile to Friends Only • Most users reported a lot of Facebook Friends… • M = 500, Median = 433, SD = 361, range: 62 – 1600 • …and many were weak ties • 8% fell within circles with most overlap, 2nd 52% in circles with least overlap Tier Weak Ties 3rd • Most users (73%) described defriending Tier practices to manage network • Many performed “friend purges” • Hesitation/concern for hurting people’s feelings • Hiding was an alternative practice to defriending 10
  11. Findings: Segregating Audiences • 20 participants (77%) actively used Lists to restrict access to content to specific groups of Friends. • Maintaining power dynamics • Blocking family • Restricting content to close friends & family • Private Messages or Notes visible to small group of Friends • 57% of Twitter users kept multiple accounts • Usually divided based on personal/professional identities 11
  12. Findings: Lowest Common Denominator • Even with heavy use of privacy settings, most users reported censoring posts • Focus on positive updates • Easier to not post than negotiate boundaries • Simplifying posts to make them more widely appealing • Privacy concerns • Conscious thought process about audience before posting: • Who will see this post? • How might it be misinterpreted? 12 • Will people find this post interesting/funny/worthwhile/etc.?
  13. Implications • Among those highly engaged in impression management online, concealing often outweighs revealing • Contrary to Zukerberg’s “new social norm” argument • If true, this impacts: • Opportunities for social capital transactions • Relationship maintenance …but what about disconnecting completely? 13
  14. Logging Off Arguments For: Arguments Against: • “Addiction” concerns • Relationship maintenance • More meaningful interactions • Missing out • Less distractions • Networking • More productivity • New connections • Work/Life Balance • Social capital exchanges • Context Collapse • Information retrieval 14
  15. Tools to Help You Log Off “Productivity through disconnection” “Turn off your friends…” 15 * Fred Stutzman, the creator of these apps, is a rock star.
  16. Thanks! Contact: Twitter: @jvitak Website: * Paper referenced in study: 16 Vitak, J. (2012, May). The impact of context collapse and privacy on social network site disclosures. Paper to be presented at the International Communication Association 62nd Annual Conference, Phoenix, AZ. (Also currently under review at a Communication Journal)