Boundary Regulation in Social Media
In Proceedings of the ACM 2012 conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, New York, NY, USA, 2012 (pp. 769--778). ACM
10 Pages Posted: 10 Mar 2010 Last revised: 28 Feb 2013
Date Written: October 8, 2009
The management of group context in socially mediating technologies is an important challenge for the design community. To better understand how users manage group context, we explored the practice of multiple profile management in social media. In doing so, we observed creative and opportunistic strategies for group context management. We found that multiple profile maintenance is motivated by four factors: privacy, identity, utility, and propriety. Drawing on these motives, we observe a continuum of boundary regulation behaviors: pseudonymity, practical obscurity, and transparent separation. Based on these findings, we encourage designers of group context management systems to more broadly consider motives and practices of group separations in social media. Group context management systems should be privacy-enhancing, but a singular focus on privacy overlooks a range of other group context management practices.
Keywords: privacy, online communities, social media
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