How do teens define privacy? (And do they care?)
danah boyd Researcher at Microsoft Research New England and a Fellow at the Harvard Berkman Center for Internet and Society zephoria.org “… there is no coherent definition among teens either. The word doesn't mean anything to them. This makes it extremely difficult to survey teens about whether they care about privacy or not, which is part of why you see such conflicting messages.” - danah boyd, October 2010
Offline: Private by default. Public through effort. Online: Public by default. Private through effort.
Teen vocabulary: Privacy. Feeling safe. In control of a situation. Trusting people and groups. An understood sense of intimacy.
To teens, Facebook is perceived as private in the context that it’s not full of creepers. (Like MySpace was.) But they also see it as a public space, as “that’s where everyone is.” Facebook is “everybody.” It’s a place to “be seen.”
Teens navigate Facebook in different ways: Some “deactivate” their accounts upon logout. This doesn’t delete anything – it prevents interaction outside of their logged in sessions. Thus, they maintain control. (Risk management) Others post, interact, and Like – then delete later. Teens are organizing “buckets” of Facebook friends, colleagues and family.
From a teen: “Facebook is like shouting in a crowd, Twitter is like talking in a room.” Twitter = sanctuary from Facebook drama. Unlike Facebook friending, there’s no expectation of a reciprocal “follow” on Twitter. Twitter is frivolous, lightweight and fun. Many teens lock down their accounts, share inside jokes, play games and quote lyrics among closed circles. Is Twitter their version of privacy?
Anonymous Q&A network. Quickly became a platform for bullying. Some teens were “self-harassing” by writing nasty comments, then answering. Why? Cry for attention. Look cool and tough. Encourage compliments.
Facebook’s “modern messaging” (not email) New messaging platform seamlessly combines email, SMS (text), IM and Facebook messages. No subject lines, no CC, no BCC, no Send button. Mark Zuckerberg cited conversations with teens who said email was “too slow.” Beluga acquisition will factor into this.
Do teens use email? Email is the least used of the communication forms examined. When compared with use in 2006, daily email use has declined slightly from 15% of internet users to 11% of internet users in 2009. Fully 41% of all teens say that they never use email when communicating with their peers outside of school. While not used often for informal peer interactions, email is used in more formal situations such as in school and by parents and other adults. This does not mean that it is seen in a positive light. - Pew Internet: http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2010/Teens-and-Mobile-Phones/Chapter-2/Other-methods.aspx