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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Personal Information Disclosure

Most people are well aware of the undesirable consequences that making their personal lives public can bring, nevertheless they keep doing it. Why does this happen? Here are some possible reasons for it:
  • To stay close with friends and family members who live far away: Social networking permits folks to stay in contact with relatives who live in different cities. College students, sibling in different states and countries and family members who are only on vacation for a few weeks can all find value in being an affiliate of different social media portals. They can stay in touch more often than they usually would without the simplicity of being connected in an internet network.
  • To help construct their own narratives: Narratives are an often ignored aspect of psychology , though they are essential for us and are fundamental for providing us with a framework in which we can reconstruct our memories and think about the future. Narratives of the life stories we tell ourselves help to make sense of our lives.
  • Because they feel the need for more human contact: Social networking sites actually appears to reduce loneliness and improve well-being, as was reported as long ago as 2002 in the Journal of Social Issues, People who have difficulties with conventional socializing, such as those with Asperger's syndrome, experience great benefits.
  • To connect with people who have similar interests: Facebook created it's "Community Pages" for people to connect more easily with others on the social network who share similar interests. It will serve as an alternative to the official Facebook Pages for businesses, organizations and public figures. The aim is to let people create unofficial pages around topics, themes or ideas that don't fit easily in narrowly tailored Facebook Groups.
  • To achieve fame: There's little doubt that the Internet supports new kinds of publicity, enabling average people to develop audiences and speak broadly while also giving those who know how to build an audience new tools in which to do so. This is part of what makes Twitter such a fascinating phenomenon. And Twitter has become a space for celebrities, micro-celebrities, wanna-be-celebrities, and all of their fans.
  • To form part of a community where they feel respected and appreciated: In social media we can recognize how highly respected bloggers receive respect from others. In parallel to honor cultures, where public reputation is more important than one’s self esteem, bloggers achieve huge respect within their community.
  • To maintain relationships with people they meet offline: Social networking sites are a poor alternative to real-world socializing, but they can help people stay in touch.
  • Build on self-confidence: this can be attained through interacting with tweeps who continuously praise your tweets, personality,knowledge and/or looks.
  • To transmit personal experiences that they feel can be valuable for others.

60 comments:

Elisabeth said...

This is a terrific list here, Mariana.

I'd add both a therapeutic component and as well an opportunity to workshop creativity.

I'll have to think some more on this, but given that blogging is essentially a literary and a visual activity, I think it is undertaken for all the reasons that people write and paint and sculpt and photograph.

They want to share their work with an audience.

This is not so strange. Our first audience - our parents - can sometimes let us down, sometimes not, but often enough we spend the rest of our lives looking for a more respectful and responsive audience.

None of this is absolute. There are perhaps as many reasons for people to blog as there are bloggers but some of the reasons overlap.

Thanks for a wonderful, thoughtful and evocative post.

JanetK said...

I value your narrative reason. This is a new idea to me in the context of social networking and blogging. It rings true.

Moannie said...

All good and valid reasons, and I guess there is a smidgin of all of them for me...though I am not too deep into the psycology of 'why'.
For me it was first curiosity, then obsession. And I am still hooked.

ArtSparker said...

There was a small editorial today in the New York Times about introverts on Facebook, now I can't find the article, but basically, there are a lot of people who are theoretically on these sites due to social pressure, but who don't face or tweet. I stick with blogger mostly because I feel I can be myself more in that context, but also because the small talk thing mystifies me.

ines said...

Very interesting post, It is a contemporary anthropological study. It would be great to make a large public survey in order for people to reply the question about why they use it, but I guess it should be anonymous to prevent biased results.
The survey should also include standard reasons, and others to allow people include their own thoughts to be analyzed afterwords, also the relevance of each reason is relevant, and can be valuable to collect for this research.

Guillermo said...

An other reason I would add to this list, of course standing from my viewpoint would be:
To be able to stay in touch with more acquaintances. FB gives
the opportunity to keep up with people that are important, but not as much as best friends are. Extended family that might only be heard from at infrequent family reunions are now available as if they where all neighbors.
I think it overlaps slightly with some of the things you said, but it is different nonetheless.

Mariana Soffer said...

Elisabeth:
Thanks a lot E. it is just a preliminary one, I think the idea of doing a more detailed and specific one would be great, I might even edit the post with users comments. Like the one you suggest regarding sharing your work with an audience, which is a great thought about why people post things.
Well regarding the audience I can tell you that the network you build is fundamental, indeed it is many times as important as the posting itself.
I agree that there are overlaps, it is very difficult to synthesize and separate clearly, at least for me.
Thanks you for expanding this spaces.

Mariana Soffer said...

JanetK:
Glad you liked that one, I thought you might, I thought about it by extrapolating theories from neuroscience and anthropology, which I think have lots of things that can be examined because they might be related to this new study field.

Mariana Soffer said...

Moanie:
Glad you liked the reasons, since you are hooked in this too, you are more than welcome to contribute to the list, so we can make something more complete and coherent indeed.

Mariana Soffer said...

ArtSparker:
Interesting what the article says, I did not read it, but I think these kind of people have a different reason for being present than the others in social networks, maybe to be up to date with things, and to keep up with the last technologies in their own way, to be able to examine and understand them.
Small talk is tricky, I agree, many times is the same as nothing, which is kind of scary, because there is no need to do that in written I think. Blogging is something else, I guess is more related to transmitting a particular message you wanna share.
I feel the same way regarding that, nevertheless I feel compelled to participate and analyze what happens with twitter and related platforms which are thought more for small talking indeed.

Mariana Soffer said...

ines:
Completely agree with you, I would love to have a way of doing a deeper kind of research regarding this.
Your suggestions about how to do them are welcome indeed.

Mariana Soffer said...

Guillermo:
Very good reason you provided here, I would love to include it in my list. Thanks for contributing with it.

tipota said...

your last point is an important one i think. as well as experience there can be ideas, systems, applications
in any number of helpful areas. a kind of integrity of sharing exists where space and time allows, which can be infinitely i guess.

Jim Murdoch said...

I agree with Elisabeth. What I have noticed is the number of people who try and keep a foot in both camps. They retain anonymity by using an avatar and a pseudonym so that they can be free to open up without reprisals from their nearest and dearest. It so often is easier to talk to a ‘stranger’ than someone close to you.

Dave King said...

Because, for whatever reason, they don't think the dire consequences will happen to them - they could, but they will not?

/t. said...

fascinating, mariana

i guess like anything else,
it's not so much the thing itself
that is good/bad for us, but the way in which we engage it

also, further to the first comment above (elisabeth) -- good point -- the whole cyberstream is explored & exploited as a creative medium in its own right

× × ×

/t.

Mariana Soffer said...

tipota:
I do like the last point also, actually it was suggested to my by JanetK, who has a really interesting blog about neuroscience call http://charbonniers.org/, she is great.

Mariana Soffer said...

Jim Murdoch:
Glad you shared your valuable opinion here, for the little I know you I guess this issue is also interesting for you. I liked what Elizabeth said a lot also, and thought about including it in a more complete post about this.
It is also very interesting what you say about people having an online pseudonym besides having a real presence as well. Pseudonym reasons are different and interesting for analyzing and adding them to the list, I will probably add them also to the more complete list I wanna create.
Thanks for your insights man.

Mariana Soffer said...

Dave king:
What you said is a clever observation about how people behave regarding motives and perils of doing something. Many people discard the possibility of hardships happening to them cause they consider them to be very unlikely or because they do not like thinking about them. It is interesting this kind of analysis as well, and how this relates and affects the personal publications as well.
Thanks for sharing your valuable insight about this my friend.

Mariana Soffer said...

t:
You are always so kind in your comments, I appreciate that and also the wisdom you share in them. They are a pleasure to read my friend.

It is so true that is relevant to understand about the way we engage in things, as it also is to understand besides the content of a post the network surrounding it along with its interaction with that postings.

Elizabeth made a great point,I am glad many people noticed it. She added a new dimension the analysis by relating it to the art and artwork concepts and theories. Besides everything is art, isn't it?

Uncle Tree said...

An aside: Did you really post this on April 20th? If so, how did I miss it? 11:11 p.m., too. Ha! That caught my eye.

Okay. I'm not most people. What are the undesirable consequences? (besides having your identity stolen or other personal financial info theft?)

Btw, for the fun of it mostly, last week I joined FB's dating network. Am I looking for trouble or what? Ha! No luck so far, but I do find it interesting to see what's on the market, and to eventually see if I myself am of value. More ego boosting, perhaps. I imagine that's why I have a blog, and an FB account.

Hello again, Mariana! Take care, sweet niece! UT

Mr/s JB Shy said...

Anne I say to mycells, what a wonderfuel post - & then High quacx tool myshelfs

All thinks are postI'mble, AInonymous or knot
Weak Ark
The un-noun, but known buy the Gottcha/Gitcha whore witchever use chews to Kali it

Aye, it may sound like a jyoke, butt Eye remain jaws, respectfooly - 2rue Ham I liar, you believe, yo? :)

Mariana Soffer said...

Uncle Tree:
Hello my dear uncle is nice to see you around here.
You know that I do not think I posted then, I think I posted it later, that was a mistake cause I published while preparing it but then deleted.

I do not think that by joining a dating network in cyberspace you are going to find more trouble than for doing it in real life. Both have potential harms indeed, well everything involving trying to relate to people has similar kind of disappointments that are possible.
Seriously speaking, I think is cool to be open to meet new people, good things might come from that. Possibly the worst that can happen is to waste a little time, that´s it.

Take care you too and good luck with your things! Keep me up to date how they are working for you.

Love
Niece

Mariana Soffer said...

Mr/s JB Shy:
Cryptic but interesting, dough I still can not make up my mind if you are a bot or not, give me a sign if you aren't.

FTPOI said...

As Buber said in 1957, "The measurement of humanness of a society... The basis of man's life
with man is twofold, and it is one - the wish of every man to be
confirmed as what he is, even as what he can become, by men; and the
innate capacity in man to confirm his fellow men in this way... Actual humanity exists only where this capacity unfolds."

I think that people expose the details of their lives to elicit comments, that often merely fan the flames of a deep-seated desire to be heard and recognized, in the way described by Buber. Most comments fall short of a real conversation rich in personal narrative.

Mariana Soffer said...

FTPOI:
I liked what Bubber said, It never occured to me to reflect on what he says about humanity and society, interesting theory.

In the reasons I enumerate I also talk about the need/desire to be recognized as well, I agree that that is a relevant one. And yes many times it falls short, that is an important critisism often blamed to new technologies.

Just a drop out of the me, sea? said...

Sorry for any bot behaviour. Cryptic indeed! I'm a sigh-fi cypher to myself numbtimes too= numb0=Dumbo; but my guess is it was im/pure associative rambling.

Mariana Soffer said...

Just a drop out of the me, sea?
It the link to youtube you account? just curious you knwo. Neat cartoon you point to.
I like you asociation style, I think is not rambing, wll it is rambling if you see it from a standard perspective, but it has an intrisic logic and reasoning belonging only to itself.
Thanks for answering and satisfying my curiosity instinct.

Tape said...

La soledad con la que nacemos nos acompaña toda la vida.
(Another reason to post something?)

Jason Gusmann said...

mariana, i hate to admit it but living without a clear narrative increases my anxiety tenfold and i still am feeling a need to organize my existence in ways that bring me comfort. i am afraid that this may be an aspect of aging and perhaps losing some courage. i hope for its return.

Harlequin said...

I like the idea of the reaching out into not exactly a void, because it isn't, clearly, but it is a non-material space that is so compelling. Perhaps the urge to explore is as deep as the urge to express and both these find a home in the various forms of social networking.
I also think that in some ways, it strokes the ego of any one who wants to be " on call " for a longing public.
In my relatively short time using blogs, I have found wonderful communities and people who are delighted by the simple adventure of respectful exchange of creative work and comments on it.

Mariana Soffer said...

Tape:
It is a pleasure to hear from you lady, I miss our talks.
It is excelent what you said, let me borrow in your name, by rephrasing it with my lame translation to english :"
The same solitude in which we are born keep us company through all our lives"
Hope you are doing well, wish you the best.
PS: any reason is good for posting if you wanna to express in that way yourself.

Mariana Soffer said...

Jason Gusmann:
very interesting inslight about what happens to yourself. I do belive our inner narrative that provides us a sense of consistency if fundamenta for us, because we need to feel we are in controll somehow,that we understand our lives along with causes and effects. So it must be very hard to live without the "safety" that that provides, dough at the same time I find it brave and truthfull as well.
Hope you found interesting what I said.
Thanks a lot once again.

Mariana Soffer said...

Harlequin:
great reflection about the mix of reasons, exploration and expression, they are probably important (and interesting)causes both of them.
Ego is such a difficult concept to understand and to put it in it's appropiate context. Nevertheless is a fundamental propeller, which I would like to understand better.
I did find the same in some blogging community and it is a real pleasure to be at least a small part of it. That is what keeps me writting nowadays (cause sadly I do not have much time to prepare my texts in a proper way)
A pleasure to see you arround my friend.

kj said...

mariana, i know i have been missing in action but only on your blog. you are in my thoughts and heart and i hope you are well and kicking ass! (pardon me, visitors).

i haven't forgotten i plan to surprise you.
:)
love
kj

J said...

I just installed the latest Ubuntu and it's got options to subscribe to social networks built in, what do you think of open source operating systems Mariana?

Mariana Soffer said...

kj:
Hi my dear friend, it is always a pleasure o see you arround. Let me tell you that luckly I am doing pretty well, tought times seems to be part of the past, dough I always have to watch out and take care, but so does everybody in life.
I ve never forgotten you either, and it is always a pleasure when I have some time to chat or exchange some lines to do it with you.
Love
M

Mariana Soffer said...

J: what a coincidence, I installed ubuntu 7 months ago in my machine from work, and as a matter of fact I am delighted with it, it is much better than windows in lots of things. Nevertheless it has the drawback that is pretty difficult to get used to, and that you have to do several things yourself by writting code instead of having tools that do it for you. But once you get used to it, it is much more productive and secure. That is my humble opinion at least.
And by the way let me tell you that I love open source projects and collaborative things.
Cheers J

J said...

Well, I tried ubuntu 9.10 and that seems pretty smooth and has everything I need, though there are lots of awkward things to learn which can be really frustrating, it is true.
On the other hand having a free operating system to put on any machine (except with VIA chipsets) without those ridiculous windows licences is pretty cool.

mi otro yo said...

Hola todo es very interesting en un sentido amplio. visitarte es abrir nuevos pensamientos. Gracias por eso.

Robyn said...

I like the way you think.
I like that we have met yet possibly would never have done so without this technology.

I like that we can connect with people from all over the world and easily meet like minded people.

I like the sharing and learning of it all.

I like the creativity.

I very much enjoy your blog and apologise that I don't get over here as often as I would like :)

so many wonderful blogs and so little time ;)

best wishes
Robyn x

~otto~ said...

This part really stuck with me: "To help construct their own narratives." I read once that that's what therapy is, reconstructing your narrative. This ties greatly into the act of writing fiction, so naturally I glommed on to it. But I still like my privacy ;-)

Hope you are doing well. It is spring and beautiful here.

Mariana Soffer said...

J
Glad you found it smooth. My recomendation for not getting frustrated is trying to work next to or be in touch with
a unix/ubuntu expert who can help you with the problems which are really hard to solve and make you get stuck.
Nevertheless you should do a large amount of learning on your own. If you are not very familiar with unix I will
strongly recomend you to watch/read an ubuntu tutorial that can help you with the basic stuff, wich might seem
useless at first but as you keep using the OS you will see it will all become handy eventually.
I agree that free is really cool, besides it might not be harder to use than windows (for example in windows when
the system crashes it is really harsh to have a clue of what happens and how to prevent it from happening again,
but in ubuntu is much easier to do this). It is just getting used to the new the main problem I guess, afterwords I believe
there are mostly advantages.

Mariana Soffer said...

mi otro yo SAID:
All this is very interesting, speaking in a broad sense. Visiting is opening new thoughts. Thanks for that.

TO mi otro yo: You are very flattering, thank you very much, makes me feel real good in days like today in which I feel I am not
doing a descent job with my blog lately, it takes lots of time and effort that I am currently not being able to spend.
You do very interesting things on the web to, I am really interested and amuse by them.
Thanks and take care.

Mariana Soffer said...

Robyn:
It is really nice all that you said that you liked at the beginning, I really enjoyed it and also agree myself with
all that you said, thanks for sharing it here.
I am glad that you enjoy my blog, and please do not apologize, I myself would love to spend much more time at your beautiful blog, not enough time to enjoy those pleasant readings sadly, but I hope I will be able to do that eventually.
Thanks a lot for such kind and nice words, you are an amazing person Robyn.
Send you my love.

Mariana Soffer said...

otto:
It is great that you liked that part, it is a fascinating topic on itself our self-constructed narratives, whether expressed in the constant conversations we have in our heads, our chats with others were we talk about historical facts that made us become/think what we now are/do. And also personal posts and comments on the net where we
allow other to see parts of our self-narrated-selves.
By the way it is true there are therapies that are based mainly in reconstructing narratives, but there are many others that have very different basements and might not even consider this constructions as something that exists.
You did a great connection with writing fiction indeed, thanks for opening my mind about this subject with it.
I am doing OK (thanks for asking), with a little too much work, nevertheless well. Hope you are passing trough good times as well.
Take care
M

J said...

Thanks Mariana, heh, no handy linux experts around here - just the ubuntu forums.
Of course it's a free distribution but there is a business plan by the makers somewhere along the line -Mark Shuttleworth seems like a good guy but he isn't a charity.
So far linux has proven to be much more prone to crash than windows because there are a lot of loose ends, you have to make sure you have the right packages etc etc.

cerdotopia said...

si se utiliza la narrativa en psicologia, sobre todo en el constructivismo. al margen, escribimos por muchas razones. es esta una gran lista; yo lo hago por necesidad, quizas una forma de ordenar mi mundo interno o quizas con el sueño del lector imaginario, con la conversacion imaginaria e infinita.

es mas seguro escribir que vivir.

por lo menos para mi.

saludos, siempre sorprendiendome.

Mariana Soffer said...

J:
Glad I can help at least a little.
It is true what you say about the packages, that is a real nightmare, all the dependencies and the different versions from each one, which sometimes are not compatible. Just today I (with a more experienced ubuntu user)spent around 4 hours trying to install a software package from the gist repository in my machine, The problem was getting to install the correct and uninstall the incorrect libraries, version incompatibilities etc.., a nightmare (The documentation for the software was terrible as usual for doing this). I use for that both the commands apt-get from the command line and the synaptic package manager which is pretty handy.
I also recommend searching in the internet the error messages you get, cause you can find in many places solutions or recommendations for solving the problems.
Anyway I think we could help each other, why don't you send me an email when you have a doubt and also one now telling me what your project is about and I see if I can help, besides we can also talk by gmail, I bet you can help me too.
Good luck and take care

Mariana Soffer said...

cerdotopia:
Me encanto la descripcion de los posibles motivos por los cuales escribes. Lo dijiste de una forma muy bonita y poetica. Yo me arriesgaria a apostar que es la razon es principalmente una mezcla de ambos y probablemente otros pequenios agregados que no nos parecen tan relevantes al menos conscientemente.
Genial la frase "es mas seguro escribir que vivir" me da ganas de traducir lo que escribiste para que el resto lo pueda leer, vale la pena.
Tu tambien no solo me sorprendes sino que me alegras.

J said...

I'm afraid I am not a computer project type person Mariana, and I seriously doubt that I can help you with anything but it is nice of you and I may mail you with geek talk. I can program an 8 bit computer to print my name on the screen, and that's about it as far as my knowledge goes.
Ciao

J said...

Mariana, got stuff here by an open source software guy, emphasising freedom and independence.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/video/2010/may/12/ethical-living-real-big-society-two

J said...

And he has a website here

http://www.stallman.org/

Mariana Soffer said...

J: Please dop not worry about not having deep technical knowledge I am sure you can help me nontheless in a mind opening chat. Thanks for the humblness in your reply.

Mariana Soffer said...

j:
I knes that man I went to a congress in peru (if I am not mistaken). I attended his talk and found severan of the issues he brought to us very interesting. I also like a lot his relaxed and amicable style.
I see you focus in very intersting guys.

Lucy in the Sky said...

I have to agree that social networking is kind of addictive. Just like blogging. I sometimes feel like closing down my accounts and forgetting everything about the virtual world but I have to accept that it has given me too many rewardings, like good people, knowledge and open-mindness. I just cannot quit. I think it is wonderful to be able to share things with people who live on the other end of the world, even if I cannot look them in the eye. Otherwise, we would not be having this post-comment relationship, which I highly value. =)

Mariana Soffer said...

Lucy in the Sky:
Thanks for sharing your personal thoughts on this topics. I love to read about them.
Social networking like everything has undesirable and desirable sides, they are not black or white, they are in shades of gray. Same thing with real people, there are no completely good or bad ones, we all have different aspects that can be worse or better in each one of us.

Anonymous said...

If you use anything on an american server, you are being snooped.
http://projects.washingtonpost.com/top-secret-america/articles/a-hidden-world-growing-beyond-control/

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