The Triumph of Social Privacy: Understanding the Privacy Logics of Sharing Behaviors Across Social Media

Zoetanya Sujon


Current scholarship positions privacy as something that is networked and complex, shifting away from ideas of privacy as individualized and control oriented. Drawing from a small sample of in-depth research using media diaries, interviews, and a small survey (N = 270) of London, United Kingdom, residents 18–37 years of age, this research examines the tensions between privacy and sharing culture as lived experiences, revealing three themes. First, privacy matters, and second, respondents identify their experiences of sharing and understandings of privacy in more traditional privacy terms: as an individualized right focused on control, pointing to a disconnect between sharing culture and concepts of privacy. Third, respondents describe their sharing behaviors as clearly shaped by privacy logics, almost entirely driven by social rather than institutional privacy. These social privacy logics are made visible through “private sharing,” “public friends,” and the depersonalization of shared public content. These evolving ways of navigating sharing culture point to the apparent triumph of social privacy over institutional privacy, but they also reveal a platform failure to make institutional privacy coherent in respondents’ lives.



social media, sharing culture, social privacy, institutional privacy, public friends, private sharing, depersonalization

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