Why Do People Let Their Barriers Down Online?

Research suggests that many people are disclosing extremely personal information online, that they would not tell others normally – why?

A number of factors lead to this type of behaviour:

Firstly, online communications are more ‘sparse’ than face to face (e.g. no body language) and so people try to add in more information to build relationships.  One of the elements of relationship building normally is shared disclosure – as you get to know people better you give away more private information about yourself, and there is turn-taking as people build trust.  With an online system people can become what has been termed ‘hyper-personal’ – they give away more information than they would face to face to speed up the building of the relationship and develop trust with their ‘friends’.

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