Voluntary self-disclosure of information on the Internet: A multimethod study of the motivations and consequences of disclosing information on blogs

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Abstract

As marketing paradigms have shifted toward the need to build a relationship with consumers, marketers need to facilitate two-way communications in order to better understand them. The ability of marketers to glean the types of detailed information needed often depends on the consumer's willingness to volunteer such information. Given consumer concern about privacy as well as skepticism about how marketers use data, it is important to understand how consumers make decisions with regard to self-disclosure of information. In spite of the widespread concern about privacy, many consumers are willing to engage in significant disclosure of various aspects of their lives in an online context, most notably on blogs. The purpose of this study is to examine the psychological characteristics of consumers who engage in voluntary self-disclosure. Through the use of the multimethod approach, we identify seven motivations individuals have for voluntary self-disclosure, as well as three consequences of this behavior.We also examine the structural configurations of the relationship among motivations, voluntary self-disclosure, and consequences. Results suggest that the motives identified help to explain why some individuals self-disclose and that individuals perceive that there are three major consequences of self-disclosure, two of which are positive. © 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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