A Shared Space and A Space for Sharing


About the Project

Research context

Acts of sharing are core to developing empathy and trust. The concept of sharing is under-developed within social science, yet sharing is implicit in our understanding of the social and has a particular relevance to online relationships that depend on empathy and trust.

The online world is arguably defined by the concept of sharing. The infrastructure of the Internet represents a vast shared space, and it is by sharing information within this space that individuals create the real value and significance of the Web. In this sense, the online world is both a shared space and a space for sharing.

As we become increasingly involved in, and dependent on, online relationships of various kinds, there are signs that this exponential increase in information sharing – what Zuckerberg (Hansell, 2008) refers to as the ‘law of information sharing’ – is transforming our privacy norms, which in turn shape trust and empathy both online and offline.