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How is self-disclosure facilitated on the web? Edit

Providing personal nformation in the Social Web can be considered self-disclosure, which includes “any message about the self that a person communicates to another”

Self-disclosure is considered to be any message concerning the self that is communicated to another.  This transfer of information about oneself or one’s own thoughts and feelings is sometimes utilized to become closer to others and maintain relationships.  These types of disclosures can vary greatly depending on the receiver and the medium.

What are the differences between offline and online disclosure? Edit

In an offline context, humans may seek more privacy and divulge less information.  However, on the Internet, the basic conditions are largely different. The information disclosed through this parameter space are essentially frozen in time for others to view and analyze at a later date in context with additional information derived about the user.

An empirical study conducted by Nguyen et al, 2012 found that most experimental studies measuring actual self-disclosure showed significantly more disclosure in computer-mediated communication when compared to offline interactions. [1] Further, the empirical study determined that intimacy in the disclosures also increased significantly in computer-mediated mediums.

What influences online disclosures? Edit

There can be many variables that influence the nature of ones self-disclosure.  Humans typically evaluate the recipient of the disclosure prior to divulging information about themselves.  Two specific constructs that determine the outcome of this evaluation are perceived risk and utility of the recipients’ intent with the information.  Humans frequently experience cognitive dissonance when struggling with the desire to self-disclose and the desire to preserve their privacy.

An experiment conducted by Jung et al 2011 found that participants were willing to turn down monetary incentive just to divulge personal details.  In doing so, regions of the brain associated with rewarding outcomes were stimulated.  The study further surmised that the tendency to broadcast ones thoughts and beliefs would allow them to make more friends and express themselves openly, also associated with higher levels of reward. [2] Through these practices, the also gain a better understanding of themselves through gain insight from others.

  1. Nguyen, M., Bin, Y. S., & Campbell, A. (2012). Comparing online and offline self-disclosure: A systematic review. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 15(2), 103-111.
  2.  Tamir, D. I., & Mitchell, J. P. (2012). Disclosing information about the self is intrinsically rewarding. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 109(21), 8038-8043.    

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