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Who are you talking about? Contrasting determinants of online disclosure about self or others

Nik Thompson (School of Management, Curtin University, Perth, Australia)
Jack Brindley (School of Management, Curtin University, Perth, Australia)

Information Technology & People

ISSN: 0959-3845

Article publication date: 14 July 2020

Issue publication date: 24 May 2021




This paper contrasts the determinants of online disclosures about self and others in social media.


Data from 216 respondents were collected through an online survey. The formal research model was tested with covariance based structural equation modeling.


The determinants of online disclosures vary whether the subject is self or others. Social networking site (SNS) users who self-disclose are also more likely to share information about others. Furthermore, there are significant gender effects in the influences of disclosure as revealed by multi-group SEM.

Research limitations/implications

Future research models should incorporate the construct of disclosure about others and examine the intertwining of different types of disclosure on SNS. Future work should include behavioral measures, as this study relied on self-report measures.

Practical implications

The current understanding of information sharing does not accommodate different forms of disclosure. Employers or systems administrators concerned about data sharing may need to tailor interventions to the subject of the disclosure. Furthermore, the significant gender differences in determinants of disclosure suggest that this should be considered in practical applications.


Disclosure about others has not been examined in prior work. This study contributes by offering empirical data on the contrasting determinants of disclosure as well as gender differences. It improves the understanding of online information sharing, a topic of particular relevance in today's information oriented society.



Thompson, N. and Brindley, J. (2021), "Who are you talking about? Contrasting determinants of online disclosure about self or others", Information Technology & People, Vol. 34 No. 3, pp. 999-1017.



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