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The “US” Book……and Being Private in Public

Came across two items this week:  an interesting proposal for Facebook alternative, and a journal article on bloggers’ sense of privacy.  

Thanks to for news on a possible Facebook alternative, the “US Book”:  Toward a family-friendly Facebook alternative to preserve your memories and help future historians–while respecting privacy


Being private in public: information disclosure behaviour of Israeli bloggers, Information Research, vol. 18 no. 4, December, 2013 

The paper  brought to mind the MOOC and discussions we had on comfort levels of staff when disclosing their personality through social media tools.  The research project “examined four different elements: self-disclosure patterns, the role that anonymity plays in the disclosure of information, the connection bloggers have with their readers and how the readers’ comments influence the bloggers’ information disclosure behaviour”.  

Here’s an excerpt from conclusions:

In summary, participants struggled with the dichotomy between the public and the private spheres in blogging that is based on the balance needed between the need for privacy and the need for community based on identification with others. The self-disclosure patterns revealed in this study demonstrate that blogs play an important role in the participants’ lives, by providing a venue for self-expression and by supporting the creation of a social network that offers rewards in social interaction.



3 responses »

  1. Thanks for posting these, Susan. I’ll plan to read the lengthier piece about Israeli bloggers later, but I did read the piece about UsBook and found it interesting, though one has to wonder how viable this would be, in terms of the scope the author envisions. I don’t know enough to state with any authority that Facebook is the only game in town, but it does seem to dominate in a way similar to that of WalMart; not prohibiting competition, but making it a hard scrabble to build any meaningfully rival base of customers. I myself have maintained a wary stance with regard to Facebook; and while I don’t delude myself that many of the others sites that I use don’t gather personal information, I finally just had to stop using Facebook altogether and deal with the loss of social information and connection that severance resulted in. Alternatives to any of the behemoths are promising to consider, but in the end perhaps tend to be a bit like our modest, largely underutilized blog here: hopeful, but lacking in a certain quorum of users, and perhaps in tangible rewards or incentives – save continuing connection with one another, a fine incentive in itself – it shall remain a perfectly modest fringe enterprise. When a growing base of users become united in goal, direction, benefit, a cause, or shared outcome, and the community seen to approach a measure viability, whatever that may be, this is when alternatives can pick up steam and build interest. I like the notion of UsBook, and reminded of a few of the inspiring examples of shared online communities, coalitions or entities profiled in Clay Shirky’s book ‘Cognitive Surplus’, many of which which were started by a mere one or two passionate individuals, and went places that no one could have foreseen. Again, thanks for sharing these articles Susan.

  2. Hi Evan: good to hear from you…thanks for your comment and pointing me to Clay Shirky’s book, ‘Cognitive Surplus’ – will put that on the reading list for 2014. And I appreciate what you’re saying about our blog and small communities – hope we can build to the level of engagement that I always felt when logging on to the MOOC blog. Best wishes for 2014. Susan

  3. I too plan to read that blogger research. It was interesting for me to experience meeting several MOOCERs in person at ALA Midwinter and reflect upon the impact of the in person meetings versus the online connections through the course. I hope to meet more of you at ALA Annual…and know that we will all be KIND and comfortable!


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