The self-disclosure theory in a social network environment

It has been said, that facebook knows a lot about us due to their intense data collection. In fact facebook provides a platform to integrate information about oneself and the members of that social network feed their database continuously. The smart concept of that “free” service of facebook enables them to collect huge intelligence of user typologies. Due to the published information such as likes, interests, hobbies, places you have visited, parties, personal data and so forth, facebook is able to target the market to an atomistic level. But how come the users provide all that information about themselves without even thinking about consequences?  

Social Media as a Business Model

Concerning this careless behavior, crimes like identity theft, stalking, bulling or discriminating of these individuals increases. Of course there are security restrictions, which make the profile way more intransparent for strange users, which is pretty good to prevent crimes. Anyways, facebook has still got the data for their own usage and since they are a profit orientated company, they look forward to generate profit with their collected intelligence. This is indeed a very good business model and due to the fact that there is a proven concept that describes the behavior of humans regarding their disclosure manners, the intentions of the user become a little clearer. 

Sharing true information

With the help of that theory it is possible to describe the relationship between individuals and at the same time to deliver an explanation of the human need to exchange personal information. It focuses particularly on the disclosure of feelings, emotions, opinions and interests. It can be assumed, that an individual is confronted with the decision, whether it wants to disclose a real self-concept or only a preferred version of its self-images.

However, two main functions of that theory can be derived. At first an individual tries to create a social bond between himself and another person. This is due to the fact to create intimacy. But based on that level of self-disclosure, an individual is capable to influence that level of intimacy because it can decide which information it does want to disclose and which it doesn’t. Close friends usually have got a high level of intimacy, that is to say, the try to provide lots of true information. 

Better understand yourself

The second function of that theory is to gain a better understanding about your-self. Thus it should deliver identity. Whereas I would rather say, deliver a deeper understanding about once self-concept since identity can be considered as fixed. Based on a literature review, the level of self-disclosure on the internet is particularly high. One example is of course the profiles of social network users. 

Facebook smartly reacts to that need and constantly improves the way of providing information no matter through the use of the pc, smart phone or tablet. The users got the functions provided to constantly provide their information, thus a friend might see the exact location of his friend, or he might see the latest comments by his friend. Almost everything is in real time, so that others can react in real time as well. Finally it has been proven that humans want to provide information. In that context the like button should be mentioned. If your friends appreciate what you just posted, commented or uploaded it will confirm your self-image and it will increase your self-confident as well as the ego. Probably facebook is satisfying the constantly upcoming and short living social and personal needs.