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What is and what is not acceptable behaviour on social networking sites: A study of youth on Facebook Val Hooper, Tarika Kalidas Victoria University of.

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Presentation on theme: "What is and what is not acceptable behaviour on social networking sites: A study of youth on Facebook Val Hooper, Tarika Kalidas Victoria University of."— Presentation transcript:

1 What is and what is not acceptable behaviour on social networking sites: A study of youth on Facebook Val Hooper, Tarika Kalidas Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand

2 Social networking sites: definition A web-based service that allows individuals to –Construct a public or semi-public profile within a bounded system –Articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection –View and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system Boyd & Ellison, 2007

3 Background Social networking offers many benefits, especially for the youth SNS users perform 2 main tasks online: manage self-identity; manage relationships Social cognitive theory posits that we acquire behavioural norms through observation and imitation (our interpretation of others’ behaviour)

4 Research objectives To determine: What behaviour is regarded by the youth as acceptable or unacceptable on SNS Whether there are differences between online behavioural norms and those that apply to offline behaviour

5 Research methodology Exploratory, interpretivist One-on-one interviews conducted with –16 youth (aged years) who had –a Facebook account Stratified convenience sampling: –Male/female –Students who worked part-time/Full-time workforce employees

6 Findings: acceptable behaviour Respectful, polite postings – audience dependent Anything – audience dependent and irrespective of who had posted; possibly gender dependent Tolerance of others’ postings – depending on who has posted Professional – audience dependent

7 Findings: unacceptable behaviour Rude or offensive postings Embarrassing postings Coarse language Too much, too intimate, too detailed information Unprofessional content – audience dependent Breaching others’ privacy Randomly requesting friendship Pestering friends’ friends Stalking

8 Findings: differences between online and offline behaviour “ Just because you’re behind the computer screen, you’ve got that safety net. You’re not actually talking to them so if you feel uncomfortable with the conversation, you can just disconnect and disappear, and never see them again. But if you’re face-to-face, you can’t escape that easily. You’ve also got that social decorum to follow” (F) “If you’ve been avoiding saying something, you could say it online - not necessarily publicly - and it could be easier that way” (M)

9 Discussion There was greater clarity on what was unacceptable behaviour than on what was acceptable behaviour Facebook activity requires cognisance of its multi-audience nature There appear to be gender differences in what is regarded as (un)acceptable Acceptability was typically assessed from a first person perspective, i.e. what the respondent would/would not do

10 Discussion (contd) Control over others is difficult on Facebook Online befriending obligation The lack of clarity regarding acceptable behaviour is different online to offline –Protection of the computer screen –Freedom –Safety –Time –Honesty –Carelessness

11 Conclusion and implications Implications for: Users Parents Teachers Policy makers Managers Marketers

12 Considerations/Future research If we are more free online, why accept unappealing friendship requests? If we are judged by our friends, why accept unappealing friendship requests? Do different behavioural norms apply for ourselves than for others?


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