Context Collapse: What Causes a Social Network to Lose Its Cool Factor

… for academics like Stutzman and others increasingly turning their attention to social networks, there’s a name for what happens when everyone joins the same site at the same time, perhaps rendering it uncool: “context collapse.” That’s the term used to describe a series of awkward events like when your boss or parents friend you, or someone posts a picture of you that you don’t want your colleagues seeing (…). As these activities cascade, social media research has shown that people begin to shy away from their online persona and begin aggressively limiting the information that appears about themselves. Not surprisingly, users begin to stress out about their tangled social scenes and abandon the network all together. “What needs to happen—and what’s going to happen—is that there needs to be more granular privacy settings,” says Nicole Ellison, who researches and teaches on social media at Michigan State University. “

via Tech: Will Facebook Still Be Around in Five Years? | Newsweek Technology | Newsweek.com.

What it means: the same way we will want content filters to find the important activities in a real-time stream, we will want privacy filters to select which of your shared information is accessible to whom.

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