Perceptions of privacy and career impression management : the case of facebook.

Pilcer, Danielle
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Facebook (FB) is a ubiquitous category of web 2.0 technology that has embedded itself in the present day reality of people worldwide. It represents the constantly evolving online environment and brings to light the associated implications of synthesising people’s online private and work life. FB can act as a platform for employees to create and manage the impressions formed of them in their work context. On the backdrop of the social capital theory, this research explored the relationships between FB experience, perceptions of FB privacy and FB career impression management (FB CIM) and specifically whether perceptions of FB privacy moderated the impact of FB experience on FB CIM. Phase 1 was concerned with creating reliable scales through the implementation of a pilot study. Phase 2 initiated the main study with a convenience sample of 217 respondents, made up of FB users and non- users, recruited online on social networking sites and within a South African based IT organisation. They completed an online survey consisting of biographical information; FB experience, perceptions of FB privacy and FB CIM items (self-developed scales). From the analyses conducted it was found that the constructed scales were reliable, with co-efficient alpha’s yielding scores of above 0.6; and structurally valid as seen with the factor analyses. It was found that younger respondents experienced higher FB experience than older respondents (r=-0.39). FB experience was related to perceptions of FB privacy with an increase in FB experience being related to increased levels of trust (r=0.16) (part of the perceptions of FB privacy subscale). FB experience was associated with increased FB CIM activities (self- monitoring r=0.26; work relations r=0.23) with FB experience being the strongest predictor of FB CIM. As such FB experience and one’s perceived importance of FB privacy may have an influence on the degree to which one actively engages in FB CIM.
Facebook, Privacy, Career impression management