Being private in public: Information disclosure behaviour of Israeli bloggers

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Introduction. This study investigated different elements of the information disclosure behaviour of Israeli bloggers. The study examined the four different elements: self-disclosure patterns, the role that anonymity plays in the disclosure of information, the connection bloggers have with their readers and how the readers' comments influence the bloggers' information disclosure behaviour. Method. The study was conducted using an online survey. The sample consisted of eighty-two regularly maintained personal blogs written in Hebrew. Analysis. Data analysis consisted of two phases. First, a statistical analysis yielded quantifiable demographic data about the participants, about different elements of self-presentation and self-disclosure, and about the effect their audiences have on their blogging practices. Second, a thematic analysis of the participants' textual answers, that will provide a different insight into the participants' quantitative responses. Results. Findings show that blogs represented a protected space in which bloggers felt free to disclose personal information, expose their 'sensitive side', to reveal embarrassing information about themselves, to take down their defences, when blogging. A connection was found between the anonymity provided by the blog and the self-awareness of the bloggers. Respondents describe their blogs as a place to express themselves freely and an outlet for feelings and emotions; as a tool that helps them share information and connect with people with whom they have something in common; as a place to keep a record of their lives. These findings do not support the claim of the deindividuation experienced by users of computer-mediated environments, since findings show that participants were able to regulate their own behaviour according to their own personal values and were concerned about other people's feelings. Conclusions. Participants struggled with the dichotomy between the public and the private spheres in blogging, that is based on the balance needed between the need for privacy and the need for community based on the identification with others.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInformation Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2013


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