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The State of Privacy: a Greater Look into the Minds of Social Media Generation

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Privacy to most people is a very strange concept, to think that someone could easily access what is considered personal photos, videos, documents and so on it beyond anyone’s imagination. One definition of privacy as stated on Dictionary. com was “the state of being free from unwanted or undue intrusion or disturbance in one’s private life or affairs; freedom to be let alone”(Dictionary. com, 2018). A state in which one is essentially free from prying eyes and unwanted attention towards what is considered “for our eyes only”. The article and author speaks about the impact of personal data usage and how societies views have constantly been shifting. Some asking about the boundaries of sharing private information, as the author states “a brief review of current literature and research, detailing the shift in understandings of privacy as an individualized right based on control”(Sujon,2018,p2). Because of societies constant need for change, being able to view and better understand how the minds of different people work, studying this topic could help one reach a different level of understanding.

In this article Nissenbaum analyzes and tries to understand some of the challenges that come with keeping things private and how networking takes a toll on everything. Nissenbaum and boyd explain better ways to understand privacy, and how it is much more than an individual right (p4). Another example being one of the Warren and Brandeis (1890) where the rights to one’s privacy and how certain things should be left in private. ‘Understanding privacy as a set of rights for individuals makes privacy “inherently personal,” where legal codes and policies focus on controlling “interference” and access to the private realm” (Solove, 2007, p. 760). Another example being some focus group conducted by Regan Shade and Shepard in 2013, ‘conducted 14 focus groups with Canadian undergraduates, finding that although respondents felt cynical about their ability to protect their institutional privacy” (p6). The repsonsenses of some of the students some feeling that the terms of privacy was not meet properly and that it was also unavoidable.

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Another method the author used was a “Age and Gender of Sharing Diaries” this study was used on active social media users between the ages 18 and 37, all based in the UK. in these diaries they were to write and track the media platforms they used and they were also asked to explain what they shared and why they shared it. Based on the diares the author conducted follow up interviews to try and understand the subjects emotions and behaviours. “In terms of survey response rate and sample size, 404 people began the survey, 63 of whom did not meet the sample criteria and 71 of whom did not complete every survey question, leaving 270 eligible survey entrants. Considering the 63 respondents who were excluded from completing the survey, the completion rate was 79. 1%. ”(p8). As shown in the quote the strongest responses came from a sample size of 404 people.

This Research collected from what the author considered a “narrow” age group, consisting of both Young adults also excluding your teenagers (Banji & Buckingham, 2013; Hodkinson, 2015; Livingstone et al. , 2015; Madden et al. , 2013). The authors choice of UK based participants was to give rational and diverse selection of ‘respondents with different relationships to and with social media. ’(p8). Although the author did run into some biases and also some limitations through this survey it was able to shed some light on of the ways different people use social media mostly in this case focusing on London based adults and their understanding of what one truly believe privacy to be. The focus of the authors research on how the themes Social Media and privacy and the importance privacy plays in certain peoples life.

The ways in which all of the themes actively work together and how each common features identified. It was clear that the participants embraced the sharing culture as shown in their diary entries. ‘Others said that privacy meant being “Internet free! What a weird world that would be” (Jilly, 25 year-old diarist), some people even said that they believed that privacy really never existed to begin with. Some of the survey participants said that privacy really did matter to them yet the author made a point in saying how in some descriptions the word “control” was a dominant in their description when asked privacy. Another important conclusion being the evolution of Private sharing amongst individuals, the author makes a point in stating that some of the patterns in which people do things indicate that even though they create these photos, documents even comments in private a little less than half didn’t feel comfortable sharing with “Public friends” (pg11) on the basis of not truly knowing who they are sharing things with.

The author examined many bodies on the terms of Privacy and also society’s shifting views on the traditional its definition and how that definition is in a never ending loop of change. Of course sharing is a constant thing in one’s daily life, despite the obvious limitations the author makes a point to express in the research that the three central themes first as privacy matters in living experience, second on private sharing and third on public friends. Creates an environment in which people can navigate the complexities of social media, and the the treat it brings to privacy.


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