Tag Archives: social-media

Privacy: Take Three

Take 1: Recently I was added to a group on GroupMe whose size quickly grew to over 100 members. Naturally, people felt the need to create a more intimate sub-community for sharing information specific to a smaller number of people. Members gave ideas to start a Facebook group. But some did not have Facebook accounts. Others mentioned starting a LinkedIn group for discussing professional endeavors. Yet, LinkedIn was seen as being too formal for free-flowing communication. Should there be mechanisms for sharing and creating communities across platforms? Should there be one platform for all preferred actions? What to do when a platform doesn’t meet privacy and sharing expectations?

Take 2: I used to be friends with my favorite younger cousin on Facebook. My cousin grew up near Atlanta. He created his Facebook account when transitioning from middle school to high school. Late nights out in high school soon turned to late nights out during his first year of college. Since teenage boys don’t necessarily reveal their actions to their mothers, it was natural for his mom to turn to Facebook for help in understanding her son. What she soon found, she did not like. It was the typical partying, perhaps some hints of illegal substance use. Naturally, she approached him about his activities which, of course, resulted in him unfriending her on all social media platforms. Unknowingly I began to make comments about his activities online, thinking she could see his posts. She did not know that he had blocked her and my comments led to myself being blocked as well. When do contexts collapse? Are existing simplified privacy mechanisms simplified enough? When and/or how should third-parties (e.g. parents) have agency over someone’s (e.g. their child’s) information?

Take 3: As I scroll down my Instagram account, I am instantly presented with 5 photos of my friend’s son. The kid is 3 years old and I am being shown cute baby bum pictures and outfits that would be quite embarrassing to him in ~10 years. How will he recover from such photos? Who will have control over the information when he gets older? How can we manage privacy from actions that happened in the past?

Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, GroupMe, LinkedIn –

All are different examples of platforms for sharing information. The above vignettes highlight challenges of existing online social platforms. How can industry professionals and academics begin to solve these problems? Essentially, social  networking sites think of the individual as the unit of analysis. However, an individual’s actions online may affect the perceptions, expectations, and privacy of larger groups of people AND these actions may affect people different over time. This problem is one I tried to tackle with other researchers in the Networked Privacy workshop at the ACM conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing (CSCW 2015) in Vancouver. In my opinion, I think researchers need to step beyond studying privacy of college students in terms of actions and opinions and delve more into solutions to problems of context collapse and boundary turbulence. Also, incorporating different age groups, non-Western cultures, and people with different abilities into the privacy space is important.

Who will start to address the questions above, both conceptually and technically?

thank you to Michael Dickard, Priya Kumar, and Dr. Anne Marie Piper for their contributions and great ideas during the breakout sessions at the workshop

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Why U No Want Facebook?

Why do people resist sites like Facebook and Twitter so much? Part of me thinks it’s because they want to be different and are afraid of actually liking it.  The other part of me thinks it’s a marketing problem. Often these sites are promoted as helping you make new friends. What if you like your current group of friends? Or, they’re advertised as letting you keep in contact “all the time”. Frankly this “always on” idea is a) annoying or b) creepy in today’s age.

How can social media be re-marketed to groups who resist the change so much? Calling all parents, political figures, highly-restrictive companies, older adults! For those who use Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Linked in, G+ – why do you? What do you think would make your stubborn friends sign up? For those who don’t – why don’t you? What would need to happen to encourage you to participate?

-a frustrated social media  + accessibility researcher/graduate student

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Social Media: Friend or Foe


A twitter follower recently tweeted

social media is just a race to see who can have the best life 1st

Is this true? It does seem like people only post attention-grabbing statuses to see who can get the most comments. And no one would try to make it seem like they’re such a horrible person online. The SNS life is the best life. 

This is what I ponder as I consider my own project on older adults and social media. In my interviews with them, they’ve made such comments as:

I don’t expose myself…. I don’t want to get too involved, I guess.


Those sites are too intrusive. I don’t want the access. People are tied to you 24/7 and they don’t need to know all that information. It’s too intrusive.

But maybe the real answer is “My life is already great. I don’t need social media.” Not that I’m trying to force Facebook and Twitter upon my grandmother’s peers, I just think social media has many benefits. When truly looked at, SNS are lands of information. Health information, family updates, and even how-to information for their own interests. The latter of which I’ll explore further in future research. Stay tuned!

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Facebook Profiles for Couples

Good one Facebook! I almost thought you were serious. That being said, would it be such a bad idea? I know many of my friends try to hide their relationship status on Facebook, whether it be single or in a relationship. At the moment I’m not sure if I can see many pros to having coupled profile. Thoughts?


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