An Exploratory Qualitative Study on People’s Attitudes towards Offline and Online Social Networks: A Case Study at a Brazilian University

Maria Lucia B. Villela, Simone I. R. Xavier, Raquel Oliveira Prates, Marcos O. Prates, Antonio A. P. Prates, Alexandre A. Cardoso


Social networks have emerged as a new medium for sharing and exchanging information. As such, it brings new possibilities and challenges to people’s interaction. In this work, we have investigated through a qualitative study one of these challenges: how people perceive and deal with privacy in online networks, as opposed to the physical world. Our findings from interviewing Facebook users show that although they perceive the online and offline worlds as connected, there is a significant discrepancy between their attitudes towards privacy in online and offline social networks, as well as strategies developed to deal with some of the experienced issues. Based on these findings, we discuss how design decisions are related to privacy issues identified through the interviews and considerations for the design and evaluation of online social networks.


Social Networks; privacy; qualitative study; Brazil; online x offline; physical x virtual; contrast

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