(Micro)Blogs and Privacy

Since early 2010, I’m a member of the „Young Scholars Network on Privacy and Web 2.0„, coordinated by Sabine Trepte & Leonard Reinecke and funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG). Our group of about 20 people with different academic and cultural backgrounds has met twice for face-to-face-workshops in Hamburg, and has been pretty busy in between.

One of the main goals of the network is nearly reached: An scholarly volume on „Privacy Online“, edited by Sabine and Leonard, which gathers research papers on various aspects of our topic. The print version is scheduled to be available within the next months, but I’ve recently finished my contribution and am able to provide a preprint version of it:

Schmidt, Jan-Hinrik (2011): (Micro)Blogs: Practices of Privacy Management. In: Trepte, Sabine / Leonard Reinecke (Eds.): Privacy Online. Heidelberg: Springer. 159-173

The preprint is available online. The original publication will be available at http://www.springerlink.com.


This paper examines the ways users of (micro-)blogs navigate the boundaries between the private and the public. Various studies show that authenticity and subjectivity are dominant ideals for selecting and presenting content within blog-based personal publics, and that (micro-)blog authors share routines and expectations of “writing about oneself”, influencing the range of personal information shared as well as the specific ways of presenting these personal information to an imagined audience. This paper discusses the sociotechnical development, that is: the evolution of both tools and practices, from the rather static personal homepages of online diaries to distributed conversation of the blogosphere and to the constant and near-live streams and feeds of current (micro-)blogging within articulated social networks. This evolving communicative architecture, it is argued, affords the emergence of personal publics, where user share information of personal relevance with an audience consisting of strong and weak ties to engage in conversation.

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