How do people share information

(via) A report I had a quick glance today: Toward Understanding Preferences for Sharing and Privacy (.pdf) by Judith Olson, Jonathan Grudin and Eric Horvitz (Microsoft). It's about how people share information. This is based on survey conducted on 30 persons working in small and medium size companies.

We report on studies of preferences about privacy and sharing aimed at identifying fundamental concerns with privacy and at understanding how people might abstract the details of sharing into higher-level classes of recipients and information that people tend to treat in a similar manner. To characterize such classes, we collected information about sharing preferences, recruiting 30 people to specify what information they are willing to share with whom. Although people vary in their overall level of comfort in sharing, we discovered key classes of recipients and information. Such abstractions highlight the promise of developing simpler, more expressive controls for sharing and privacy.(...) Overall, participants in our study were unwilling to share most things with the public. Not everyone is comfortable sharing everything with their spouse. The pattern of information our participants are willing to share with their managers and trusted co-workers tracks those that they are willing to share with their families, except that work-related items are rated higher.

The paper provides a nice cluster analysis of the different kinfs of sharing.