I was at a very interesting workshop yesterday held at the Oxford Internet Institute (see the NSMNSS Methodspace group for more details or visit their website – http://www.natcen.ac.uk/nsmnss/); there were some fantastic conversations about online research methods and a lot of good questions were raised.
One question that really stuck with me was how effectively can you define online material as being either public or private?
Is it to do with passwords and security settings? Is it to do with the author’s intended audience? How do you define platforms like Facebook which are password protected but which allow people you dont know to access core data about your life?
What do you think? Does anyone have a good working definition or an example of how you have tackled this issue?