Creative Ways Teens Maintain Social Privacy with Social Media

I wrote an article for the Connected Learning Research Network’s blog. I’ve included an excerpt below. You can read the full article here.

…I have found that social norms and a feeling of constant surveillance leave many teens feeling vulnerable with regard to social media use. Not only are teens concerned about adult and peer surveillance, but some teens are resistant to social norms that encourage them to converge social contexts and identities (as is often the case on Facebook). Rather than negotiating liminal boundaries between what is and is not socially acceptable to share on spaces such as Facebook, the teens I met maintained privacy by disclosing personal information in alternative spaces, such as Tumblr and Twitter. Facebook encourages teens to friend everyone they know and broadcast information to their entire network. However, the norms that have developed around Tumblr and Twitter allow for more privacy and control. As such, I view teens’ use of  alternative social media as spatial tactics intended to resist social norms, which encourage the collapse of social contexts, identity, and oversharing. For some teens, the use of Tumblr, Twitter, and Instagram is more than  “the next new thing”, but can be interpreted as deliberate attempt to manage social privacy…

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