Jessica Vitak, "When Contexts Collapse: Managing Self-Presentation Across Social Media"


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  • Original friends with benefits. Established theoretical perspective in the sociological literature. Social capital describes the resources that can be linked, deployed, and activated via our social relationships. Factors that influence your social capital include your position in a network, the size of your network, and the resources possessed by those in your network. A characteristic of all forms of capital (e.g., social, financial, human, intellectual) is that they are convertible to another form of capital (Resnick, 2001). Consequently, social capital is structured upon the maintenance of social relationships of various types and can be converted to other forms of capital such as favors (human capital) or new information (intellectual capital).
  • From our ICWSM paper: Notably, we do not find direct effects of privacy attitudes or behaviors on social capital, which indicates that the relationship between privacy and social capital is mediated by one’s ability to disclose successfully on the SNS. In other words, to reap the benefits of SNS use, one must disclose on the site, and one’s ability to disclose is a function of privacy attitudes and behaviors.
  • Irwin Altman (1975). The environment and social behavior. Petronio (2002) Communication Privacy Management Theory: The balance of privacy and disclosure has meaning because it is vital to the way we manage our relationships. Revealing is necessary, yet we see evidence that people value privacy when they lament its apparent demise.” Key word here is control: we control access to private information and choose whether to reveal or conceal that information. “ CPM suggests that privacy and disclosure are opposites having distinct features from one another that function in incompatible ways. Disclosure is not privacy and privacy does not represent the act of disclosure. … disclosing implies that we are giving up some measure of privacy. However, disclosure cannot occur if there exists no private information that can be told to others.” CPM describes the “mental calculus” we go through when trying to decide whether to share private information, and with whom it should be shared. CPM theory provides a systematic approach to understand disclosure about the self by focusing on the process of privacy management. In addition, the theory frames the content of information about the self as private. These two dimensions contribute significantly to broadening the scope of disclosure.”
  • FB has added problem (compared to G+) that Lists weren’t part of initial setup.
  • Jessica Vitak, "When Contexts Collapse: Managing Self-Presentation Across Social Media"

    1. 1. Technology &relationships: It’sComplicatedJessica VitakUniversity of Maryland, College of Information Studiesjvitak@umd.eduTwitter: @jvitak 1
    2. 2. Finding my pathHow do we get from Point A  i.e., the “BIG IDEA” to Point B  MEANINGFUL 2 RESULTS? Flickr image courtesy of Raghu Jana
    3. 3. This is not as easy as itlooks… 3
    4. 4. Small steps may (eventually) lead to big conclusions“Scientists put shrimp on a tiny treadmill “Study suggesting playing Farmvilleto determine if sickness impaired the on Facebook helps adults developmobility of the crustaceans.” and maintain relationships.” 4
    5. 5. Challenge 1: What is my RQ? Communication Audience Practices Privacy 5
    6. 6. Challenge 2: NarrowingFocusTECHNOLOGY RELATIONSHIPS Facebook IM Twitter Email • Romantic vs. casual relationships • Geographically close vs. long distance • Network characteristics • Formation vs. maintenance vs. dissolution 6
    7. 7. Challenge 3: Collecting DataAs we’ve seen, collecting data about technology users can be HARD.Some of the challenges: • Picking the right method • Reliability of self-reports • Those darn Terms of Service • Differences across populations of users • Researching less popular sites • Ever-evolving site features • How the heck do you get a representative sample? 7
    8. 8. Challenge 4: Analyzing DataYour RQs/Hypotheses must be testable!•Questions to ask: • Does my method allow enable me to test my RQs/Hs? • Is it the best method to do so? • Do I know the proper analysis techniques? IF NOT: •Can I learn them? •Do I want to learn them? •Do I have time to learn them? •Can someone else teach me/run them? 8
    9. 9. 9How does context collapse impact
    10. 10. Oh hai Goffman…We meetagain Selective Self-Presentation Context Collapse: When distinct audiences are brought together in a central location. 10
    11. 11. 11Flickr image courtesy of cayusa
    12. 12. Technology attenuates thisprocess. 12 This is why it is important to study this phenomenon—technology changes existing structures/processes/outcomes.
    13. 13. This is what happens when mynetwork collides! (cue Powerman 5000) 13
    14. 14. How context collapse mayaffect our use of technology1) Strength of weak ties: users distribute content (esp. resource requests) to entire network to increase likelihood that someone will see it and respond.2) Privacy controls: users employ increasingly granular privacy settings to segment network into different audiences.3) Lowest common denominator: users only distribute content appropriate for all “friends.” 14
    15. 15. Dissecting the RQHow does context collapse affect use of SNSs &outcomes? • Access to resources—Facebook and social capital (Ellison et al., 2007, 2010, 2011, 2012; Burke et al., 2010, 2011) Social User Capital 15
    16. 16. Dissecting the RQHow does context collapse affect use of SNSs & outcomes? • Disclosures necessary to accrue social capital (Ellison et al., 2010; Stutzman et al., 2012) Social User Disclosure Capital 16
    17. 17. Dissecting the RQHow does context collapse affect use of SNSs & outcomes? • Privacy concerns may prevent disclosures (Stutzman et al., 2011, 2012) Network Privacy Concerns Public Info User Social Disclosure Capital 17
    18. 18. Dissecting the RQHow does context collapse affect use of SNSs & outcomes? • Privacy settings can assuage concerns (Vitak et al., 2012; Ellison et al., 2011) Network Privacy User Concerns Public Info Privacy Social Disclosure Settings Capital 18
    19. 19. Conceptualizing Audience SIZE AUDIENCE Y DIV AC IM ER SIT INT Y 19
    20. 20. Privacy Online … (is that an oxymoron?) Privacy: “selective control of access to the self,” achieved by regulating social interactions (Altman, 1975) Multiple Stalkers Friends Accounts ID Theft Only Restricting Private Searchability Restricting Content Tagging Privacy Privacy FriendEmployers Places / Lists Concerns Controls Check-ins Limit Visibility Hacked Account Old of Content “refuseniks” Posts Inappropriate Limited 20 Content Deleting Profile Account
    21. 21. Balancing Privacy &Usability… Is this reallypossible? (hint: I’m not convinced)Features to increase Words that describesite’s usability site’s privacy features:(and support corporate goals): •Complex•Simple design •Confusing•Minimize “clicks” •Time consuming•Intuitive movement through •Hard to find!site •Frustrating•Public sharing 21
    22. 22. What’s in adisclosure?Wheeless & Grotz’ GeneralDisclosiveness Scale (1976): • Amount • Depth • Conscious Intention • Positivity • Honesty 22
    23. 23. Bridging Social CapitalBonding SocialCapital 23
    24. 24. Bridging SC in action! 24
    25. 25. Bonding SC in action! 25
    29. 29. Implications• How network composition impacts: 1) Engagement with site 2) Perceived resources available• It’s not just who you’re connected to, but the characteristics of the content you share that impact your perceptions of access to resources.• Site features (e.g., Friend Lists) may manage context collapse.• Implications for design (e.g., better privacy & content distribution controls) 29
    30. 30. Coming Full Circle Big idea about technology & relationships Deal with various challenges in narrowing focus, conceptualizing & operationalizing variables, collecting & analyzing data. Develop new questions about your big idea based on your findings & start process anew! Push boundaries of what is known and accepted. Side note: Non-significance != bad data. May be just as 30 important.
    31. 31. Thanks! Jessica VitakUniversity of Maryland iSchool Twitter: @jvitak 31