Virtual Communities and the Social Dimension of Privacy

Janis L. Goldie
Faculty of Communication and Culture, University of Calgary
June, 2003
 

Abstract


While the issue of privacy and the Internet has been a popular topic among academics across the disciplines lately, this study explores the unique privacy concerns of virtual community participants. Employing a broad understanding of privacy, this study points to the need to focus on the expressive and social role of privacy in regard to virtual community participants. Furthermore, this study suggests that virtual communities offer members a unique opportunity to work on their self-identity via the degree of self-expression and social interaction that is available in these groups. This finding helps to explain why users consciously bring the ‘private’ to the public realm, despite the inherent privacy risks they face by doing so.
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