OCLC Study on Online Privacy and Trust Issues (especially for those on Facebook or Flickr)

A recent study commissioned and released by the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) entitled Sharing, Privacy and Trust in Our Networked World reveals some interesting facets of web user practices in the US, UK, Germany, France, Canada, and Japan. This study is primarily concerned with those sites, applications, and tools that enable sharing. These include social media sites (Flickr, Youtube) and social networking sites (Facebook, MySpace, CyWorld).

The full report is available via the OCLC website here, but some highlights include:

– 89% of respondents have been online for four or more years, indicating an increasingly savvy user base
-the Internet’s readers are rapidly becoming its authors; there has been a significant increase in web creation
-nearly 25% of users participate in some sort of social media (Flickr, Youtube) or social networking site (Facebook or MySpace)
-Online trust increases with usage; 70% of social networking users indicate they trust those they communicate with
-users do not distinguish library websites as more private that other sites they are using.

The implications of this study are far reaching.

Perhaps most surprisingly is the role of geography in users’ approaches to social media and networking sites; those from Germany were much less likely to use these sites than those from the US. Users from Japan were much more likely to use SMS services than those from elsewhere. Interestingly enough, there was little or no differential between users from rural as opposed to urban areas.

I found this report to be a relatively interesting read as I was waiting to have the oil changed at the dealership. I have crossed the line into some sort of anti-cool just there, haven’t I?

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About Author

My name is Michael Sean Gallagher. I am a Lecturer in Digital Education at the Centre for Research in Digital Education at the University of Edinburgh. I am Co-Founder and Director of Panoply Digital, a consultancy dedicated to ICT and mobile for development (M4D); we have worked with USAID, GSMA, UN Habitat, Cambridge University and more on education and development projects. I was a researcher on the Near Futures Teaching project, a project that explores how teaching at The University of Edinburgh unfold over the coming decades, as technology, social trends, patterns of mobility, new methods and new media continue to shift what it means to be at university. Previously, I was the Research Associate on the NERC, ESRC, and AHRC Global Challenges Research Fund sponsored GCRF Research for Emergency Aftershock Forecasting (REAR) project. I was an Assistant Professor at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (한국외국어대학교) in Seoul, Korea. I have also completed a doctorate at University College London (formerly the independent Institute of Education, University of London) on mobile learning in the humanities in Korea.

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