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A big part of my dissertation and some of my past research has focused on self-censorship — why we choose to withhold information and our true opinions. In a recent study that Rachel Young and I published in¬†Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, we look at what factors might encourage someone to be more comfortable with sharing personal information. Specifically, we looked at social capital as a predictor of comfort levels with sharing person information on Facebook. Here’s the abstract if you’re interested:

The potential harm and benefit associated with sharing personal information online is a topic of debate and discussion. Using survey methods (n=872), we explore whether attainment of social capital online relates to greater comfort with sharing personal information. We found that perceptions of bridging and bonding social capital earned from using Facebook are significant predictors of overall comfort levels with sharing personal information. This research raises timely questions about how the perceived benefits of social networking sites influence how personal information is shared online.