Benefits of sharing is outweighing privacy concerns

Privacy, it seems, really isn’t an issue.  A new survey has come out with some surprising results.  While GenX is concerned about privacy on-line, this recent survey suggests this is not the case for the next generation.

the ‘digital natives’ who are known for enthusiastically embracing social networking – will retain their willingness to share personal information online even as they get older and take on more responsibilities…..

the advantages Millennials see in personal disclosure will outweigh their concerns about their privacy.[1,2]

In this case the term digital native or millennial describes those aged 18-28 years old. Here are some revealing quotes from the survey:

Most of those surveyed noted that the disclosure of personal information online carries many social benefits as people open up to others in order to build friendships, form and find communities, seek help, and build their reputations. They said Millennials have already seen the benefits and will not reduce their use of these social tools over the next decade as they take on more responsibilities while growing older.

The majority argued in answers to the survey that new social norms that reward disclosure are already in place among the young The experts also expressed hope that society will be more forgiving of those whose youthful mistakes are on display in social media such as Facebook picture albums or YouTube videos.

Some said new definitions of “private” and “public” information are taking shape in networked society. They argued that this means that Millennials might change the kinds of personal information they share as they age, but the aging process will not fundamentally change the incentives to share.

At the same time, some experts said an awkward trial-and-error period is unfolding and will continue over the next decade, as people adjust to new realities about how social networks perform and as new boundaries are set about the personal information that is appropriate to share.

Differences between generations are interesting, how about this one – do you sleep with your cell phone next to your bed?[2]

I do.  It’s got my alarm on it.

References and Notes

[1] http://pewinternet.org/Reports/2010/Future-of-Millennials.aspx
[2] http://pewsocialtrends.org/pubs/751/millennials-confident-connected-open-to-change

The ‘pinch of salt stuff’:

First off – this is an American Survey, which means it’s only applicable in America and we can only guess if this would be the case in other countries.

And as PEW say, the survey results are based on a non-random online sample of 895 internet experts and other internet users, recruited via email invitation, Twitter or Facebook from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project and the Imagining the Internet Center at Elon University. Since the data are based on a non-random sample, a margin of error cannot be computed, and the results are not projectable to any population other than the experts in this sample.