Privacy and Self Presentation in the Digital Age


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We live in an age of diminishing privacy, but we are starting, as individuals and as a culture, to understand how to interact with our digital audiences in an age of context collapse. References to Erving Goffman, Marshall McLuhan, and danah boyd

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Privacy and Self Presentation in the Digital Age

  1. 1. Privacy and Self Presentation in the Digital Age Joan Vinall-Cox, Ph.D.
  2. 2. Who Are You? • The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life – sociologist Erving Goffman • social rituals involved in self-presentation • = “impression management” • Different in the digital environment • The meaning of avatars
  3. 3. Presenting Your Image • “Impression management online and off is not just an individual act; it’s a social process.” – danahboyd - It’s Complicated • Audience? Message? Social Norm?
  4. 4. “Social media has introduced a new dimension to the well-worn fights over private space and personal expression.” – danahboyd
  5. 5. Cultural Changes • We feel entitled to know other’s business • “civil inattention” – politely ignoring embarrassing moments or information – no longer in vogue • Scandals get attention in information- saturated world • Celebrity gossip more and more popular
  6. 6. Civil Inattention – Not Looking even though you can see! Saving yourself and others from embarrassment
  7. 7. Civil Inattention Needed, (as well as context awareness) A metaphor for social media “drama”
  8. 8. Paparazzi and Celebrity Gossip Have Increased Greatly in Our Culture
  9. 9. Do Media Portrayals of Out-of-Control Behavior Affect Social Media Bullying? Is the Cause Cultural or Technical?
  10. 10. In the Social Media Age • “Four affordances, in particular, shape many of the mediated environments that are created by social media – persistence • *It doesn’t disappear+ – visibility • [For anyone with a computer and URL] – Spreadability • [Extremely easy to forward / share] – searchability” • [Just google it!] – danahboyd – It’s Complicated
  11. 11. We are Living in the Panopticon •
  12. 12. The Concept of Privacy is Changing in the Digital Age
  13. 13. danahboyd: • “Privacy … is a process by which people seek to have control over a social situation by managing – impressions, – information flows, and – context.” • “Privacy is valuable because it is critical for personal development.”
  14. 14. Who Are You, Really? • If you are always “managing impressions” of yourself because you are always watched, if you have no privacy, you can’t find out who you truly are. •
  15. 15. When You Know Who / Where You Are You Know How to Behave • “Based on their understanding of the social situation—including the context and the audience—people make decisions about what to share in order to act appropriately for the situation and to be perceived in the best light.” • But when you don’t know the context … • “Contexts don’t just collapse accidentally; they collapse because individuals have a different sense of where the boundaries exist and how their decisions affect others.” – danahboyd – It’s Complicated
  16. 16. It FEELS Private and Safe to Reveal Yourself or Attack Anonymously But …
  17. 17. Context Collapse • Context collapse is our new reality • "...Social media technologies collapse multiple audiences into single contexts, making it difficult for people to use the same techniques online that they do to handle multiplicity in face-to-face conversation...” – (Marwick & Boyd, 2011)
  18. 18. Excerpt: • According to [Michael] Wesch, in face-to-face communication • we assess the context of our interactions • in order to decide – how we will act, – what we will say, and – how we will construct (and present) ourselves.
  19. 19. Excerpt: As [Erving] Goffmansays, • we continuously, unconsciously take note of our surroundings, • those present, and • the overall tone and temperature of the scene – to move through it. • As social beings, we have become adept at • sussingout and performing micro-calculations • in the micro-second gaps of conversation • in order to move through those situations. When engaged in social interactions, we evaluate situations and people as well as ourselves and how we fit into them
  20. 20. Excerpt: In social media, • face work does not have the same currency or value • because we don't see the expressions of those with whom we are communicating. • Further, there is context collapse, or homogenization of context, • because all of the micro-calculations we used to make by evaluating a situation are gone, • removed and collapsed in social media.
  21. 21. Government and Businesses: Attitudes Toward Privacy • Privacy is pretty well non-existent in the wired world • Governments access ‘private’ communications – American NSA, Canadian CSIS – Edward Snowden -
  22. 22. Our Vulnerable Computers • Not just government agencies can invade our privacy • Agencies and hackers can invade our computers and phones to learn our secrets • Online businesses can delete what we bought and paid for • Business that we trust with our financial information might not encrypt it securely enough to prevent hacking
  23. 23. Your Stuff • Cookies – your computer history doesn’t disappear • Most cloud email and storage is on servers in the U.S. – Canadian gov’t trying to change that for gov’t materials – me_for_consumers_to_think_local_for_cloud_co mputing_geist.html
  24. 24. Digital Rights Management :// works
  25. 25. Encryption and Your Data encryption-works
  26. 26. Commercial Hacking epic-hack-of-credit-card-data
  27. 27. Our Privacy and Identities – VERY Limited • thieves/ • Pay close attention to your bank account. • Ultra-personalize your credit card. • Lock down your privacy settings on social networks. • Remove your information from data mining websites that publicly post and sell it. • Etc. … and not so easy
  28. 28. The New Public Square &Panopticon
  29. 29. You are Being Watched! • In our digital culture, we now have audiences – Mostly unknown by us – Invisible to us – From many different places and cultures – From future times; (our information doesn’t disappear) • We are trying to learn how to behave in our panoptic world
  30. 30. Growing Awareness
  31. 31. Sophisticated Tactics • Different personas for different sites/media, for example, Tumblr • Controlling who gets to see what posts on Facebook, using their tools • Making Instagram private, and only allowing people you actually know to follow • On LinkedIn, networking with posts and endorsements • Understanding Twitter, especially Lists
  32. 32. Are You the Same Person on All Your Social Media Sites? • “*She (or he)+ represent[s] herself in different ways on different sites with the expectation of different audiences and different norms” – danahboydIt’s Complicated
  33. 33. Serious Journalist; Flippant Twitterer Andrew Coyne, National Post, CBC
  34. 34. The Dark Entrepreneurial Side - Retweeted by @socialnerdia
  35. 35. Social Media is Increasingly Being ‘Managed’
  36. 36. Designing for Attention attention.html • Developers are working to design apps that make use of our current digital habits • To combat multitasking, lack of attention, and spreadability, • Snapchat demands attention by the time limit • And provides some privacy
  37. 37. The Printing Press Changed the World • The internet and web are just beginning • Profound impacts already on – Communication – email, Skype, social media – Politics – political messages, fund raising – Relationships – Facebook, dating – Education – Classroom content, MOOCs – Publishing – decline of newspapers, rise of ebooks, blogs • Etcetera ad infinitum
  38. 38. Highly Recommended its-complicated-the-social-lives-of-networked-teens.html
  39. 39. Works Cited Images from Google Images /Search tools / Usage rights / Labeled for noncommercial reuse 9 easy ways to beat identity thieves. (n.d.). Online Privacy Abine RSS. Retrieved March 27, 2014, from Arthur, C. (2013, September 6). How internet encryption works. The Guardian. Retrieved March 27, 2014, from boyd, d. (2014). It's complicated: the social lives of networked teens. Boston: Yale University Press. danahboyd | apophenia. (n.d.). danahboydapophenia RSS. Retrieved March 27, 2014, from Contreras, E. [@socialnerdia] (2014, March 26). $3,000 "social media wedding concierge" will come up with a #hashtag for you. please stop. [Retweet of Bosker, B. (@bbosker)] Retrieved from Context collapse in social media. (n.d.). HLWIKI Canada. Retrieved March 27, 2014, from Coyne, A. [@acoyne] (2014a, March 26). Ukraine had planned "to train the dolphins to attack enemy swimmers with knives or pistols fixed to their heads." 20140326 … [Tweet]. Retrieved from Coyne, A. [@acoyne] (2014b, March 26). "Enemy swimmers?" [Tweet]. Retrieved from Geist, M. (n.d.). Time for consumers to think local for cloud computing: Geist. Retrieved March 27, 2014, from Goffman, E. (1959). The presentation of self in everyday life. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday. Marwick, A. E., & Boyd, D. (2011). I tweet honestly, I tweet passionately: Twitter users, context collapse, and the imagined audience. New Media & Society, 13(1), 114–133. doi:10.1177/1461444810365313 Riley, M., Elgin, B., Lawrence, D., &Matlack, C. (2014, March 13). Missed Alarms and 40 Million Stolen Credit Card Numbers: How Target Blew It. Bloomberg Business Week. Retrieved March 26, 2014, from 13/target-missed-alarms-in-epic-hack-of-credit-card-data