Aaaa Haaa Moment
Posted by Jennifer Smoot
In many of our conversations this semester we have discussed the multitudes of social media options in this digital age. While we have not exactly discussed trust or privacy as an individual topic before this week, there have been definite innuendos about the trust we each place in these sites; some of us have shown it by the desire (or lack thereof) to use a particular site, others have pointed out the flaws in some of our readings that can lead to a distrust of that author as well as the information in the article itself, and others just aren’t interested in sharing their personal lives. Both of the chapters this week got me thinking about why there is such a variance, even in our small group of, assumingly (based solely on the fact that we are all interested in the same field), similar beliefs and personalities (ok, I am probably stretching it a little but just go with it!). In particular when you take into consideration Facebook, there always seems to be a huge debate over what is posted and why people want to spill their life stories (and, at times, very personal information) out to all these supposed “friends”. Even when we read articles about how Facebook is changing their privacy setting again and releasing more information (you need to see this visual – I can’t download the image), some of us are still frequent users, or know of people who are. In Schofield and Joinson (2008), when I read the following quote, it all started to make some sense to me:
“. . .we found evidence that trust and privacy interact to determine disclosure behavior, such that high privacy compensates for low trustworthiness, and high trustworthiness compensates for low privacy. Clearly, privacy and trust are closely related in predicting people’s willingness to disclose personal information, and the relationship may be more nuanced than simple mediation” (p. 25)
We may not trust Facebook, the company, but really, that is not who we are communicating with. We are communicating with our FRIENDS whom we place a lot of trust in. Therefore we continue to use the site even though we know our privacy is at risk. In fact, when Facebook makes style changes, I have read comments that make it sound like “how dare you change MY site”. The users seem to have almost hijacked the site in some ways – they seems to ignore the fact that there is an actual company associated with this site and they are in business to make money. They are quick to forget the most recent privacy concerns and continue to use the site and still revealing very personal information – again because they are communicating with trustworthy friends, not the company itself.
The ethical principle in Katz and Rhodes (2010), the Being Frame, also plays heavily into the use of Facebook, on both sides of the screen. Facebook, the company, Enframes its users:
“In the being frame, not only machines, but humans as well are Enframed, and considered a standing-reserve – not only for use by the organization [Facebook], but also by the machines to which we must adapt” (p. 237)
But the users themselves are becoming part of this “being frame” as well:
“The digital and the technical has become the personal (e.g. Blackberry devices, Facebook), and extend around the wired world. We exist everywhere with technology as a technology; we stand with the resources as a reserve” (p. 238)
I believe it is because of this thought process (along with the trust aspect of their friends) that users are willing to look past well-known privacy issues and continue to spell out their entire lives for all to see. Right or wrong, they are one with the machine.
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