Virtual Trust & ?Social Network Sites December 6th, 2007 Virtual Trust Online selective self-presentation raises issues of trust How do we know you are who you say you are and that I can trust you? Donath?s article Avatars & nonverbal communication help build trust Eye contact, smiling, attractiveness But we don?t have these things online Do we need to make online interactions more ?realistic?? What might be the consequences of this? Bailenson?s Research Background: people like people who are like them How might this affect political candidates? Experiment using morphed images of subjects Method National random sample of voters Morphed subject?s image with unfamiliar candidates Measured how subject felt about candidate (intention to vote, traits, etc) Results Subjects significantly preferred the candidate whose face was morphed with theirs People like candidates who look like them Limitations? Replicated Study Conducted study with familiar candidates Some subjects were more familiar with candidates than other subjects Results Facial similarity more influential when you are unfamiliar with the candidates If you are familiar with the candidate you don?t care if they have facial similarity If you are unfamiliar with the candidate you use peripheral cues to evaluate a person or message (looks are peripheral cues) Raises Questions Implications regarding trust and manipulation Not just political implications, but potential marketing Social Networking Sites Public Display of Connections Social networks have always been valuable resources What are the implications of publicly or semi-publicly displaying them? Displaying connections is not new Parties Introductions Name-dropping All of these allow us to display our social connections?show who we are socially connected with Reliable indicators of social connections? Signaling Theory We send signals of the qualities we try to portray 2 kinds of signals Assessment signals?directly related to a particular quality that we try to convey?inherently reliable?we can always trust these (if I?m not strong I cant lift a heavy car?if you see me lift a heavy car you know I am strong) Conventional signals?exist because of convention?not because there is a direct relationship between the two (if you see me driving a jaguar you think I am wealthy but maybe I don?t own it)?reliability not as strong?become more reliable signals over time Reliability determined by: Cost of assessment signal Cost of deception If the costs are large we will be more reliable?is the deception worth the cost of deception? Personal Identity Generally on-line, little verification of personal identity Public displays of connections help to verify on-line personal identity But not necessarily... Kinds of Connections Compatible vs. incompatible connections Online public displays can remove physical or social barriers What are ways to manage social boundaries? Facebook Research Survey conducted at Michigan State (Elison,et al. 2006) Social networking sites not used to meet new people Most often connecting with pre-established of-line ties Summing Up New media is blurring boundaries of traditional interpersonal communication factors and definitions Potential to be used for benefit or harm Signaling theory can help predict reliability of online social information Coming Up Mobile Communication For Tuesday, read ?Cellphones in Public? Think about how mobile phones have changed public spaces.
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