Aaaa Haaa Moment

www.facebook.comIn 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.

Posted on November 17, 2013, in Social Media, Society, Trust and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Great post! I love the comic at the bottom; I am always shocked by the excruciating details people provide on Facebook about their personal lives. But I think you’re right that they do it thinking not of Facebook the company but of Facebook their universe of friends. This is a very illustrative example of the Being Frame.

  2. I agree with what you said that we might not trust a company like Facebook, but for something like social media that doesn’t matter. It’s more about the people we’re communicating with, not the place that’s making it happen. I do think with a site like Facebook though that there’s a false image of privacy being there are so many privacy settings. Plus, you think you’re sharing information with just your family and friends, but forget about those few people that you added as a friend from college that you haven’t spoke to in years.

  3. It’s very interesting how people almost feel and act invincible when they share on Facebook. I think you may be on to something – that users don’t see Facebook as a company or an entity separate from themselves. They see Facebook as an extension of themselves and don’t really see it as any different as talking directly to their friends or family like they would in person. But, they AREN’T speaking in person. They have an audience – Facebook friends, their friends (depending on your privacy settings), and then there’s the people at Facebook itself. I think some people like this, however. Facebook gives them a way to be extroverted online; they may not be in regular interactions. It’s easier to be bold, witty and exciting when typing on the Internet than in front of a real person..

  4. Good post and interesting follow up. I particularly enjoyed clicking on the links to past posts that Jennifer provided!

    I tend to shake my head and wring my hands about people forgetting boundaries on FB, but then every once in a while I realize I’ve occasionaly been in danger of doing that myself on this blog. It’s kind of like Lori’s observation about being “invincible” and then you realize, “wow, this is really very public and anyone who chose to could see everything I write” (my staff, my family, my supervisors, my friends, and on and on). Case in point is the visit from docbelmont to the “Illusions of privacy post” this week — it was kind of startling to see a “new” reader.

    I think that sense that Jennifer referred to that we’re communicating with our trusted circle (rather than the company) is probably pretty widespread.

  5. Excellent post and link roundup!

  6. I love your point that people are communicating with their friends and not the company or to extend your point, not the internet at large. People are good at looking at things only a certain way. It is really difficult to remember sometimes that you have to look beyond the common use of social media and remember that there are indeed people behind the site itself. I think that it is easy to forget that the computer is merely a mediator between many people, including many that you may not know.

  7. I really appreciate your connection between sites like Facebook and the ethical frames. When I initially read the chapter, all I could think about was the way members of the company I work for viewed employees (in my mind, the perception changed based on their proximity to the workers). It was interesting to see it compared to a company and how it might perceive its customers.

  8. Thanks for sharing your ideas! I like your image at the end of the post — we do our best to protect our privacy in “real” life. For example, women who carry purses usually do not leave them lying around or out in a visible sight in their cars. We need to protect our privacy online as much as we do in reality. I think it’s such an abstract concept though, that people do not think about it. In my opinion, we all just wish and hope that nothing will happen to our personal information online.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.