A recent eMarketer article, How Consumers Balance Openness and Privacy, examines this question thoroughly. Surprisingly, the answers are rather contradicting to popular belief.
With all the recent fuss over privacy controls, and the social media networks’ attempts to appease users, it is interesting to take a step back and see what really worries people. For instance, the “Millennial” generation, typically defined as ages 18-29, is actually the most cautious about what information they share with the world. The chart below, provided by Pew Research Center, describes the actions social network users are likely to take to limit shared information.
It is important to keep note of the fact that young people may be more cautious about what they share because they share so much more than other generations, however, the statistics are still rather impressive. Mary Madden, senior research specialist at Pew, describes the differences: “Contrary to the popular perception that younger users embrace a laissez-faire attitude about their online reputations, young adults are often more vigilant than older adults when it comes to managing their online identities.” Apparently, all those complaint letters to Mark Zuckerberg were not for nothing. The younger users, who populate a huge portion of most social media sites, really are concerned about privacy, and keeping information from those they do not wish to see it. An interesting fact, and really, probably for the best for all.