Focus question: Referring to Jurgensen & Ray (2012), how are digital technologies affecting (in positive and/or negative ways) users’ privacy?

Digital Technology has made an alarming effect of the nature of privacy. This is due to the expansion of privacy due to the expansion of social media. These effects have both seen negative and positive results to the nature of privacy especially online. Jurgensen and Ray refer to both the positive and negative aspects of users’ privacy.

Social media sites are the main source for the erosion of the once-valued privacy. The erosion has led to a new cultural movement of mass publicity. Jurgensen and Ray refer to the aspect of zero sum game. This refers to the idea in that something must lose in order to win. This is relevant in the relationship of publicity and privacy. In order to achieve to publicity there evidently must be the loss of privacy. This is evident issue in the users’ privacy in digital technology. The negative aspect of this relationship is that publicity and privacy are an act of disclosure. This is evident in the privacy policies of Twitter and Facebook. In terms of Facebook, your information is used in order for advertisements to appear on your news feed as suggested posts. This is also an evident issue in Twitter in which your information is able to be release publicly at any point.



The positive aspects to the users’ privacy online are users’ ability to select which information they wish to ‘front stage’ and which information they would rather be left in a ‘dramaturgical’ status. This is evident in the reading that privacy is not secrecy, it is selectively revealing information. This allows other users to understand the identity of other users’ by knowing their interests and common information. Not only is there an identity established, as mentioned in Licklider and Taylor, there is a common interest formed. Jurgensen and Ray’s argument shows that publicity and privacy are co-implicated.  This is evident in their celebrity metaphor in which a celebrity in order to minimize their privacy means it will add their publicity. However there is also the aspect of control to how the information is released in order to maximise their privacy thus showing that privacy is the selectively revelation of information rather than just secrecy.

Jurgensen and Ray’s criticism of privacy takes an alternative approach in looking at the more positive aspect of privacy, noting the dialectal relationship with publicity. However there are still evident negative aspects of digital technology affecting users’ privacy due to differing privacy policy and the theory of zero-sum.


–          Jurgensen, N. & Rey, P. (2012). The Fan Dance: How Privacy Thrives In An Age Of Hyper-Publicity. Institute of Networked Cultures, Amsterdam, 2013

–           Licklider, J.C.R & Taylor, R.W. (1968). The Computer as a Communication Device. Viewed 17th September 2013. Reprinted Science and Technology (1968)


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