On Privacy, Trust, Social Networks & Libraries

OCLC's latest report Sharing, Privacy and Trust in Our Network World is must read. I've just skimmed it myself, but the Report Highlights section offers lots to think about. Here's a few that stood out to me ...

From On using the Web...

  • The Web community has migrated from using the Internet to building it. In 2005, just 16% of respondents used blogs; today that number approaches 50%. Approximately a quarter of the general public respondents have created Web pages and used chat rooms and social networking sites. The Internet’s readers are rapidly becoming its authors.

  • Web users read more. Approximately a quarter of the general public respondents reported that time spent reading, print or digital, has increased over the last 12 months. In no country surveyed was there an overall decrease in reading time. And respondents who spend time using social networking sites read more than nonsocial site users.
From On Social Networking...

  • The emergence of a new classification of “social” Web sites is changing the construction and culture of the Web. In these shared spaces, users are not only the audience, but they create content, design pages and architect entirely new social networks. We have moved from an Internet built by a few thousand authors to one constructed by millions.

  • The general public respondents are more likely to have used a social networking or social media site (28%) than to have searched for or borrowed items from a library Web site (20%).

  • Much of what takes place on social spaces is motivated by a desire to increase personal interaction. My friends use the same site (66%) is the top criteria in using a social networking site. To network or to meet new people, The Web site is fun and to be part of a group or community are also top social networking site selection criteria.
From On Sharing the Web ...

  • General public respondents are sharing information, including personal information, on a growing number of commercialWeb sites. Approximately threequarters of users of commercial sites have supplied their given/first name, surname/last name, e-mail and street address; about half have provided a phone number, birthday and credit/debit card information.

  • The majority of the respondents (54%) are more comfortable sharing their “true personalities” (feelings, attitudes and interests) in person. Thirty percent (30%) are equally as comfortable online as in person and about 16% are more comfortable sharing their true personalities online.
From On Privacy ...

  • Respondents are split on their views about Internet privacy and security. Twentythree percent (23%) of the general public respondents feel their personal information is kept more private on the Internet than it was two years ago; 27% feel it is kept less private. A roughly equal number, 29%, feel there has been no change in Internet privacy; 21% are not sure.

  • Respondents do not distinguish libraryWeb sites as more private than many other sites they are using. Just 11% of online users surveyed feel that activities done while using a library Web site are extremely or very private, a rating slightly lower than search engines (15%), social networking sites (15%) and online bookstores (12%).

  • While a third or more of users of social, commercial and library sites agree they prefer to remain anonymous while using these sites, most use their real names (65%), real e-mail addresses (80%) and real ages (80%), and over half provide their real telephone numbers when registering at a Web site.
And there's more ... lots more ... on privacy rules & trust, on US Library Directors, on libraries and social networks etc. Access the full report here.

PS: Just imagine what this report, if repeated, will look like 5 years from now?

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