You Can't Block People Offline

Examining How Facebook's Affordances Shape the Disclosure Process

Paper authors:

Jessica Vitak & Jinyoung Kim

University of Maryland

Presented by:

Carrie Mah

University of Calgary

OVERVIEW

Motivation

Introduction

WHY BOTHER?

Motivation | Introduction

Insight from 2011 data

Contributions to communication research

Improve Facebook's affordances

SNS users' disclosure and privacy practices

Perspectives and management strategies on users' network 

Understand thought process behind interactions on social network sites

Question: "How the self-disclosure process varies online"

Building on previous research

Derlega and Grzelak's self-disclosure goals

Additional focus on affordances of SNSs

DEFINITIONS

Social network sites (SNSs)

Users create profiles

SNS affordances

Visibility and persistence of content

Lower costs to interacting and maintaining large networks

Users have list of connections

Users consume, produce, and interact with user content

Editability of content

Association of connections

Motivation | Introduction

BACKGROUND

Self-Disclosures

Goals & Risks

Affordances

Privacy

SELF-DISCLOSURES, ON- AND OFFLINE

Self-Disclosures | Goals & Risks | Affordances | Privacy

DEFINITION

Self-Disclosures | Goals & Risks | Affordances | Privacy

Historically dyadic communication

Social media shifted disclosure practices

Any information exchange that refers to the self 

Role of privacy in disclosure practices 

Broadcast to wide audiences

Boundary regulation

DISCLOSURE GOALS & RISKS

Self-Disclosures | Goals & Risks | Affordances | Privacy

DISCLOSURE GOALS

Self-Disclosures | Goals & Risks | Affordances | Privacy

Derlega & Grzelak

Theory of Disclosures

  • Social approval: support & affection
  • Intimacy: closer relationships
  • Social control: impression management
  • Identity clarification: formulate ideas
  • Relief of distress: release emotions

Omarzu

Disclosure Decision Model

Goals

}

Interpersonal

}

Intrinsic rewards

DISCLOSURE RISKS

Self-Disclosures | Goals & Risks | Affordances | Privacy

Baxter & Montgomery

Relating Dialogues & Dialectics

Parks

Interpersonal communication

Risks

Interpersonal

}

Threatening

  • Social rejection: formal/informal exclusion
  • Hurt feelings: negative/imprudent information
  • Reduction of integrity: disclosed information inconsistent with image
  • Loss of control: loss of power when regulating outcomes

&

}

AFFORDANCES  DISCLOSURES ON SNSs

Self-Disclosures | Goals & Risks | Affordances | Privacy

DEFINITION

Self-Disclosures | Goals & Risks | Affordances | Privacy

Gross & Acquisiti SNS' affordances

Unique set of characteristics that enable action on the sites

Enables users to engage in:

Content distribution

Lower cost and time 

AFFORDANCES OF SNSs

Treem and Leonardi primary affordances:

Leads to different interaction environment

  • Visibility: increase disclosures, lower search costs
  • Persistence: disclosures archived and searchable
  • Editability: draft and edit messages pre- or post- publishing
  • Association: information divulged with discloser and possible recipient

Facebook: public, one-to-many self disclosures 

Traditional: private, dyadic communication

Self-Disclosures | Goals & Risks | Affordances | Privacy

RESEARCH QUESTION 1

Self-Disclosures | Goals & Risks | Affordances | Privacy

Based on:

RQ1: What self-disclosure (a) goals and (b) risks do Facebook users identify when using the site?

Research links SNS use with positive outcomes

How do affordances impact users' self disclosures?

Facebook users' self-reported disclosure goals

Risks are barriers from making disclosures

Managing Privacy & Disclosure on SNSs

Self-Disclosures | Goals & Risks | Affordances | Privacy

INTRODUCTION

Self-Disclosures | Goals & Risks | Affordances | Privacy

Discussion of privacy on SNSs includes:

All barriers when disclosing information

Users' attitudes (risks and concerns)

Behaviors (settings)

Blurred boundary between private and public information

Settings and audience visibility affect content

Users fail to recognize full audience

STRATEGIES

Self-Disclosures | Goals & Risks | Affordances | Privacy

Lampinen & colleagues' preventive strategies:

Danah boyd's social steganography:

Account level operations

Friend Lists: access to content is limited

Self-censorship: information disclosed is controlled

Lowest common denominator: one person affected

Last minute: disclosures made but not published

Avoid specific topics

Edit and review published content

Code messages to hide true meaning of messages

RESEARCH QUESTION 2

Self-Disclosures | Goals & Risks | Affordances | Privacy

RQ2: What strategies do Facebook users employ to mitigate self-disclosure risks and privacy concerns?

Consider:

Privacy risks when sharing personal information

Risks are too high to make disclosures

METHODS

Study

Interview

Participants

Analysis

STUDY

Study | Interview | Participants | Analysis

survey: online communication tools

2011 study

Enter e-mails

interview: privacy management, self-presentation practices

INTERVIEW

Study | Interview | Participants | Analysis

Semi-structured interviews asked:

Use of site

Privacy attitudes and behaviors

Disclosure and interaction behaviors with networks

Impression management strategies

PARTICIPANTS

Sample

Criterion sampling: cases to ensure information is rich

Helps identify weaknesses to improve systems

Criteria: use of Friend Lists or advanced privacy settings

Study | Interview | Participants | Analysis

26 participants: 16 female, average age 29, majority white (22)

American graduate students

Average of 500 Facebook friends, spent and average of 55 minutes a day on the site

ANALYSIS

Authors created a codebook based on:

Guiding theories: disclosure goals and risks, affordances, privacy

Characteristics of disclosures: inappropriate, self-presentation

Study | Interview | Participants | Analysis

Risk management strategies: targeted disclosures, lowest common denominator

FINDINGS

Goals

Risks

Strategies

SELF-DISCLOSURE GOALS ON FACEBOOK

RQ1 (a)

Goals | Social Approval | Social Control | Intimacy | Identity | Relief | Personal Record

SOCIAL APPROVAL

Goals | Social Approval | Social Control | Intimacy | Identity | Relief | Personal Record

+

=

Social Acceptance

+

=

Social approval goal

interest

entertain

SOCIAL CONTROL

Goals | Social Approval | Social Control | Intimacy | Identity | Relief | Personal Record

worry

self-presentation

selective disclosure

visibility

balance

INTIMACY

Goals | Social Approval | Social Control | Intimacy | Identity | Relief | Personal Record

geographically dispersed

share content

maintenance

closeness

personal channels

IDENTITY CLARIFICATION

Goals | Social Approval | Social Control | Intimacy | Identity | Relief | Personal Record

clarify opinions

share links

threaten social approval

specific aspects of one's identity

RELIEF OF DISTRESS

Goals | Social Approval | Social Control | Intimacy | Identity | Relief | Personal Record

annoy friends

positive

private channels to express anger

PERSONAL RECORD

Goals | Social Approval | Social Control | Intimacy | Identity | Relief | Personal Record

Additional goal to Derlega and Grzelak:

Dyadic communication goals

Site's affordances

Self-expression

Private activity

Status updates

intrinsic rewards

online diary

persistence of content

PERSONAL RECORD

Goals | Social Approval | Social Control | Intimacy | Identity | Relief | Personal Record

fulfillment

life events

log stories

share content from another app

digital records

central repository

SELF-DISCLOSURE RISKS ON FACEBOOK

RQ1 (b)

Risks | Interpersonal | Impression Management | Affordance

INTERPERSONAL

Risks | Interpersonal | Impression Management | Affordance

Social rejection

Hurt feelings

Over-sharing

Avoid topics

Avoid hurting others

Especially if future interactions would happen

Complaints

Boring content

Interferes with interpersonal goals

Difficult for selective presentation

Offensive content

IMPRESSION MANAGEMENT

Risks | Interpersonal | Impression Management | Affordance

Reduction of integrity

Loss of control

Subject to decisions of others (employers)

Position of power

Self-perception

Inappropriate tag

Wayward comments

Poor judgment

AFFORDANCE

Risks | Interpersonal | Impression Management | Affordance

Persistent content

Context collapse

Privacy concerns

Offline: know audience, control self-presentation

Facebook: flatten contacts from various contexts to single group, difficult for varied self-presentation

Private settings often change

Private content may become public

High visibility

Think twice before posting

RISK MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES EMPLOYED BY USERS

Strategies | Network Regulation | Targeted Disclosure | Self-Censorship | Content Regulation

NETWORK REGULATION

Strategies | Network Regulation | Targeted Disclosure | Self-Censorship | Content Regulation

Limit recipient of disclosures

Offline relationships

Defriend

Pending Friend requests

Hiding as hesitant to sever ties

Doesn't mitigate risks

Friends invisible to user

Friends still see content

Pressure to accept Friend requests

Ignoring online can cause tension offline

TARGETED DISCLOSURE

Strategies | Network Regulation | Targeted Disclosure | Self-Censorship | Content Regulation

Send disclosures to a segment of the network

Restrict disclosures from a segment of the network

Single people out

Private messages

Use of Friend Lists

Use of Limited Profile

Try to recreate offline contexts

Hide content

Exclude subset of Friends

Share only to Friends interested in disclosure

Avoid risks like social rejection

Cumbersome and requires a lot of maintenance on users' end 

SELF-CENSORSHIP

Strategies | Network Regulation | Targeted Disclosure | Self-Censorship | Content Regulation

Maintain self-presentation

Hogan's lowest common denominator approach

User chooses not to disclose content

CONTENT REGULATION

Strategies | Network Regulation | Targeted Disclosure | Self-Censorship | Content Regulation

Move from public to private channel

Social steganography

Communicate in code

Differentiate types of information through public and private channels

Private channels to maintain contact with close groups of friends

DISCUSSION

Research & Theory

Site Design

Limitations

RESEARCH & THEORY

Research & Theory | Site Design | Limitations

Communication process on SNSs

SNS affordances affect

Self-disclosures involve dyadic and group communication across public and private channels with known and unknown audiences of various sizes

Goals and risks

Strategies to determine what to disclose

RESEARCH & THEORY

Context collapse:

Goffman's front stage and backstage theory:

Offlinefront stage people are more formal, backstage they "step out of character"

Facebookblurs boundaries, users struggle to balance self-presentation and more intimate interactions

Strategies to manage diverse group of Friends

Reduces cost of communicating to large and diverse audiences but increases risks about parts of audience

Managing Friend Lists and privacy settings are cumbersome and unexpected

Research & Theory | Site Design | Limitations

SITE DESIGN

Research & Theory | Site Design | Limitations

Boundary regulations:

Content unintentionally shared

Make disclosure boundaries visible

Users didn't want to use technical solutions by Facebook

Users didn't want to interact with the site because of risks

SITE DESIGN

Research & Theory | Site Design | Limitations

Timeline:

Users can highlight or minimize pieces of content

Create ways to manage visibility of older self-disclosures

Persistent and visible content

Simplifies searching and moving through profiles

Privacy settings overly complex

LIMITATIONS

Research & Theory | Site Design | Limitations

Limits generalizability of findings due to purposive sampling:

Experience power disparities such as student or faculty connections

Homogenous group of highly engaged, mostly white American graduate students

Have more diverse networks than other populations

Experience significant impression management concerns, related to seeking a job

CONCLUSION

Critique

Relevance

Questions

CONCLUSION

Conclusion | Critique | Relevance | Questions

CONCLUSION

Contributions:

How new communication technologies  affect relationship maintenance practices

How affordances change how we interact with others, especially with challenges such as collapsed contexts when disclosing information online

Conclusion | Critique | Relevance | Questions

CRITIQUE

Conclusion | Critique | Relevance | Questions

Weaknesses

Study done in 2011, paper done 3 years later

Outdated information, especially when Facebook constantly updates its design

Study asks if participants use Twitter (and if they have multiple accounts) but never discusses Twitter or other SNSs

Little implications if findings can be used for other SNSs despite revealing commonalities and extensions to existing research on self-disclosure

CRITIQUE

Conclusion | Critique | Relevance | Questions

Improvements & extend research

Study different populations or random sampling to (possibly) find different results 

Observational study over time to record natural behavior and thought processes

Study multiple SNSs to generalize  behavior not only exclusive to Facebook

Study why goals, risks, and strategies on Facebook or SNSs

WHY WE SHOULD CARE

Conclusion | Critique | Relevance | Questions

SNS improvements:

Increase understanding:

Facebook used by over 1 billion users

Identify challenges and issues

Affordance re-design

Communication research 

More aware of thought process and actions

Self-disclosures in intimate relationships, therapy, online

Affect online profile creation and purposes

Use different profiles to present different personalities and refine audiences

QUESTIONS

Conclusion | Critique | Relevance | Questions

  1. Can these findings be extended to other SNSs or are they exclusively relevant to Facebook?​
  2. What type of SNS would you create after understanding self-disclosures?
  3. Has this paper affected your outlook on self-disclosure practices and will this change how you use SNSs?
  4. How do perceived risks affect your self-disclosure practices, and do you use other channels instead of Facebook?
  5. How do you manage your self-presentation, and do those decisions affect your self-disclosure practices?
  6. What do you use Facebook for? Are you concerned about context collapse and re-consider what to post?
  7. Is your Facebook usage affected because of privacy concerns?

Critique

Personal SNS use

Paper inspirations

ACTIVITY

Conclusion | Critique | Relevance | Questions

Goals

Think about (or collect) a set of Facebook posts (recent or otherwise)

Can you match a category the authors noted to your post? What goal did you have in mind when posting?

Social approval

Intimacy

Social control

Identity clarification

Relief of distress

}

Interpersonal

}

Intrinsic rewards

ACTIVITY

Conclusion | Critique | Relevance | Questions

Privacy

Think about a time where you didn't post something 

Why did this happen? Did you use any strategies?

Interpersonal

Threatening

Social rejection

Hurt feelings

Reduction of integrity

Loss of control

}

Friend Lists: access to content is limited

Self-censorship: information disclosed is controlled

Social steganography: hide messages with codes

Account level: multiple accounts, settings

}

THANK YOU!

"You Can't Block People Offline" - Presentation

By Carrie Mah

"You Can't Block People Offline" - Presentation

Presentation on a paper by Jessica Vitak and Jinyoung Kim

  • 528
Loading comments...

More from Carrie Mah