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Trust And Social Networks Essay

2229 words - 9 pages

Is it feasible to be able to trust everyone in a network of millions of people that you may be associated with? Many are evidently signing up to social networking sites and, as such, revealing much information about themselves. Does trust play a role in the use of social networking sites? Discuss and contrast. It could be said that online social privacy is harder to guarantee, so should one consider a higher level of concern for internet privacy and do you believe a lack of trust affects the popularity of social networking sites?

According to the Oxford Advanced Learner’s dictionary, trust is defined as [1]: “the belief that somebody or something is good, sincere, honest, etc. and will ...view middle of the document...

Barnes’ words [2] sound as a first note of caution about trust granted to web-based social interaction: “In oral cultures, people were directly associated with their words. In written cultures, the words could be printed and sent across distances. In the past, most words were associated with an author. Occasionally, people used pseudonyms or wrote anonymous pieces. But, on the Internet many people are unknown. We do not have editors to tell us what is fact or fiction. We do not know if someone is being represented as they really are or if they are creating a persona for the net.” The danger stated above is clearly recognized by wide segments of individuals in different age, as shown in different studies [3]. In fact, users’ actual usage and disclosure of information in social networks is linked to the levels of risk taking attitudes more than to deep knowledge and awareness of information handling procedures. Users have consequently higher levels of trust towards the used tools, although they express their trust in a nuanced way according to the counterparty they have to deal with: friends, acquaintances and unknown people [4]. In general, other studies [5] have also measured that “… those who have profiles on social networking websites have greater risk taking attitudes than those who do not have profiles on social networking websites. Also, risk taking attitudes are greater among men than women… there are greater percentages of disclosure of phone numbers and home addresses among men than women”. This perception of “low-cost risk interaction” seems to be confirmed by the proliferation of web-based social networks as new – apparently effective - tools of social interplay. Secondly, it can be said that high levels of trust might be often triggered by more unconscious thrusts than objective information and data about web interaction safety. The drivers underlying these behaviors concerns both inner needs like sharing life experiences, building a sense of community, keep friendship with old acquaintances. Sometimes, just plain desire of feeling “in company” and avoid loneliness push people to use social networking websites. Other needs like

enhancing professional and working network are also present in the range of motivations, but not always as primary reason. On a third note, the interplay of personal behavior, cultural background and education determine very often the overall approach toward the level of trust granted to web-based information exchange. Behavior’s nuances are present according to age, profession and individuals’ education. These aspects affects very often the relative computer literacy and, with high correlation, the access to quality information regarding personal data handling and privacy personal rights. Besides, education triggers very often a higher independence of thought and weakens the power of social peers’ pressure in imposing Internet usage’s most common habits. It is also probable that well informed and...

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