Blogging Privacy Rule Orientations, Privacy Management, and Content Deletion Practices: The Variability of Online Privacy Management Activity at Different Stages of Social Media Use

Publication Title

Computers in Human Behavior

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Communication privacy management (CPM) theory; Media use activity; Blogging; Social media; Uses and gratifications; Deletion motives




The purpose of this study was to examine social media users’ blogging privacy rule orientations, privacy management regulation, and content deletion practices as distinct types of activity occurring at different stages of the blogging process (before, during, and after blogging) that may aid in understanding the functioning of blogging disclosure activity overall. The study was guided by a complementary application of both the uses and gratifications perspective and communication privacy management (CPM) theory. A central tenet of both theories suggests that people are variably active in their communication behavior. We identified five discrete blogger privacy rule orientations explaining different online choice-making practices: the self-centric, the utilitarian, the planner, the protector, and the unworried orientations toward blogging. We also identified six different motives for deleting previously-posted information: conflict management, protection of personal identity/safety, fear of retribution, employment security, impression management, emotional regulation, and relational cleansing. Path analysis revealed several direct and indirect paths among bloggers’ motives for deleting previously posted material and their level of disinhibition, blogging privacy rule orientations, amount of time blogging, and privacy management practices. As use of social media increases, exploring variations in privacy management regulation practices is critical.