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Can You See Me Now? Audience and Disclosure Regulation in Online Social Network Sites ARTICLE

Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society Volume 28, Number 1, ISSN 0270-4676


The prevailing paradigm in Internet privacy literature, treating privacy within a context merely of rights and violations, is inadequate for studying the Internet as a social realm. Following Goffman on self-presentation and Altman's theorizing of privacy as an optimization between competing pressures for disclosure and withdrawal, the author investigates the mechanisms used by a sample (n = 704) of college students, the vast majority users of Facebook and Myspace, to negotiate boundaries between public and private. Findings show little to no relationship between online privacy concerns and information disclosure on online social network sites. Students manage unwanted audience concerns by adjusting profile visibility and using nicknames but not by restricting the information within the profile. Mechanisms analogous to boundary regulation in physical space, such as walls, locks, and doors, are favored; little adaptation is made to the Internet's key features of persistence, searchability, and cross-indexability. The author also finds significant racial and gender differences. (Contains 8 notes and 13 tables.)


Tufekci, Z. (2008). Can You See Me Now? Audience and Disclosure Regulation in Online Social Network Sites. Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society, 28(1), 20-36. Retrieved December 17, 2017 from .

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