We all have that friend who posts something a bit too outrageous on Facebook (if not, you are likely that person -- sorry!).
Maybe it's a sexy pose, a duck-lipped photo with a friend, or drunken shenanigans, but either way it's getting likes or comments.
Zeynep Tufekci, a professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, called it the "amplification of the potential audience" that seems to have changed the game of photo posting, according to the New York Times.
“The fact that the world is going to see you increases the risks you are willing to take,” she said. “We see this all the time on social media in protests, and the same is true for graffiti. It’s performative.”
Coye Cheshire, a Berkeley professor of information sciences, sees it more as social approval. When conducting research, he found that subjects often came up with "edgier" content and shared more when they were told their social network didn't care for their current posts.
There's also something to be said for the "anonymity" of the Web, although as we know that's not often the case -- because so little disappears from the Internet. However, it's usually the attention-seekers who are pushing the envelope.
“For people who get a lot of motivation out of knowing that other people will respond to what they are doing, knowing that thousands or millions could see it can be very powerful,” he told the Times.
It can be easy to say that Facebook and other social networks make people post outrageous photos and information about themselves, but the reality is that it's likely people who are wanting to be noticed who post revealing selfies or confessions online. And apparently if what they're posting isn't working, they may just get more revealing.
Published at 5:33 PM PDT on Jun 17, 2013