Bien des gens (m’incluant) sont sous l’impression que les utilisateurs de MySpace, sont de jeunes écervelés qui mettent n’importe quoi en ligne et qui ne prennent que peu de précautions quant à la sécurité de leurs infos personnelles. Il appert que c’est plutôt le contraire. Selon une étude disponible sur le site de FirstMonday, Whose space is MySpace? A content analysis of MySpace profiles , seulement une infime minorité sont assez nono pour mettre leur vrai nom, leur adresse ou encore leur numéro de téléphone personnel. Il appert que les utilisateurs de MySpace se servent plutôt des fonctionnalités internes de MySpace pour communiquer et qu’ils comprennent bien que ce média social ne doit pas servir à nuire indument à leur vie privée en ligne. Voici d’ailleurs un extrait des conclusions de l’étude :
While many users provided information indicative of their physical appearance, most were more conservative in their disclosure of more sensitive identifying information. On their profile pages, 78.4 percent of users in the sample displayed their first name while only 11.0 percent disclosed their full name. Approximately two–thirds of users sampled (64.5 percent) displayed their first name as their online user name specifically, while a mere 1.9 percent of users used their full name as their user name. Less than one percent (0.80 percent) used a realistic name, although 3.60 percent of user names were a combination of a nickname with a real name. About 14.6 percent used an online handle (an ID name used on Internet sites) as their user name, while 9.4 percent used a phrase.
The inclusion of offline contact information was an anomaly in user profiles. Only three users displayed their telephone number. While almost all MySpace users revealed their location (98.5 percent), including a city or town and state, only one user in the sample revealed a home address. Of the 1.5 percent who did not include the required information regarding their location, two users (10.5 percent) had private profiles while the other seventeen (89.5 percent) were public.
Et en conclusion:
Consistent with Stuztman’s (2006) findings on self–disclosure, MySpace users showed high disclosure of personal information in categories such as race, sexual orientation, body type, height, relationship status, personal photo and first name. As in prior findings in teenage blogs (Huffaker, 2006), the users who were 18 and 19 years old had significantly higher disclosure on contact information such as full name and IM nickname when compared with adult users. This could mean that adult users are more aware than teenagers of the dangers of making public their private contact information online. The adult users analyzed in this study employed strategies to protect their contact information without hiding some characteristics of their personal identity. Nevertheless, this study did not find any evidence of widespread disclosure of information that would be easily used for stalking or other forms of offline harassment.
By revealing their physical appearance, name and status, users are showing and constructing who they are. These characteristics along with their posts and the visual composition of their sites reveal their digital bodies (boyd, 2006b), which they use to socialize online. However, even if users protect their contact information, they might still be identifiable by searching their contacts (boyd, 2006) and through, apparently, not sensitive information such as occupations or affiliations. The fact that 98.3 percent of the sites analyzed were public could indicate that users prefer to do self–censorship of their contact and identifying information than to eliminate the possibility of being accessed by unknown audiences.