Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania published an article in the Journal of Markering stating that the device with which people communicate can influence the degree to which they reveal their personal secrets.
Scientists say that people are more likely to reveal information about themselves on the Internet using their smartphones than computers. For example, tweets and reviews written from smartphones are more likely to be written from a first-person perspective and will reveal negative emotions or discuss the personal family of the author and his friends. Similarly, when consumers receive online ads requesting personal information (for example, phone number and income), they are more likely to provide it when they receive a request on their smartphone than on their desktop or laptop computer.
Why do smartphones influence behavior? According to the study, recording on your smartphone often reduces barriers to disclosing certain types of confidential information for two reasons:
- one is associated with the unique characteristics of the shape of the phones;
- the second is with emotional associations that consumers tend to support in their device.
The small size of smartphones makes browsing and creating content, as a rule, more difficult compared to desktop computers. Because of this difficulty, when you write or answer on a smartphone, you tend to focus on the task and become less aware of external factors that usually impede self-disclosure, for example, what others will do with the information.
The second reason people tend to self-disclose on their phones is the sense of comfort and intimacy that people associate with their phones. When we write using a smartphone, we tend to feel that we are in a convenient and safe area, which means we are more willing to reveal any information about ourselves.
The study analyzes thousands of social media posts and online reviews, web advertising responses, and controlled laboratory research. For example, the initial data was obtained from an analysis of the depth of self-disclosure disclosed in 369,161 tweets and 10,185 restaurant reviews posted on TripAdvisor.com, some of them from PCs and some from smartphones. Using both automated natural language processing tools and human judgment of self-disclosure, researchers found reliable evidence that the content generated by the smartphone is indeed more open. Perhaps even more convincing is the analysis of 19,962 web ads where consumers were asked to provide personal information.