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JIPS 2010 6.2 Article 3

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Prod. Code: JIPS2010-6.2Art3

A Place for Friends?

Camilla Rossi, the University of Trento, Italy, camilla.rossi@gmail.com

ABSTRACT

This paper presents part of a two-year research carried on the social networking site
MySpace.com to examine the perception of MySpace as a “place for friends.” A
qualitative methodology using observation and interviews was used to examine the
perceptions of 29 Italian and American music-related MySpace users. What emerges
from the findings is a widespread users' perception of MySpace as a friendly
environment, where information must and can be disclosed. A grounded study on this
perception of friendliness is used to present an analysis of the elements that constitute
this perception. The element of surveillance that has been widely accounted for in
literature is present in this perception, though what emerges to be potentially
dangerous for privacy is one's own deliberate disclosure of information, which might
be related to the perception of finding oneself in a harmless environment. Based on
the findings of this exploratory study, the paper highlights directions for future
research to understand the dangers and perception of privacy disclosure online, and,
in particular, on social networking sites.