A Study of Private Websites in the United States and Germany

 

Research Project

Sandra Roth

 

Charles Ess

Cross-cultural Approaches to Internet-Research –

Basic Issues and Emerging Guidelines

Wintersemester 2004/05

Universität Trier

Details:

In my research project, I studied private websites in Germany and the USA. I tried to find categories that mark whether a site is more a private place or a public space. I had a look on visual and textual metaphors that people use to present their private content and on environments they create by the design and infrastructure of their site.

 

Furthermore, I contacted these persons and asked them, whether they are aware of the fact that their site is a “sightseeing place” for “online tourists” all around the globe or if they don´t care about that because they send their link only to closely related people.

 

And finally I wanted them to decide if their real name, address and website address should appear in my study. If so, I wanted them to comment why they didn´t have a problem with that. If they decided not to allow me the publication of their private dates, I would ask them to tell me which risks they see and why they feel uncomfortable about publishing their real identity. I argued that if their names are being published on the internet with access-possibilities from all over the world, then why shouldn´t they be published in a study.

 

I also asked them about their experiences with users from other countries and visitors of their sites or if conducting a website has ever lead to meeting interesting people with the same interests or getting to know new friends.

 

I chose this topic because I´m interested in web design and in the fact how people appropriate the technique of building websites to express their own creativity. Furthermore I started building my own website two years ago (www.red-sandy.de) and found out how funny it is to expose your own paintings to hundreds of people who would never have seen them if they were only hanging in my home. Having my own website made me become very careful about the question what to publish because you are constantly aware of the fact that you show something of your privacy which is not a normal state and may cause some controversy or precise consideration about what should be or not be published on a private site. The first release took me some sleepless nights and I found it very exciting. Now I´m used to having this site and it won´t matter if it exists or doesn´t exist at all.

 

In Amy Bruckman´s „Studying the amateur artist“ it is mentioned that internet users can be regarded as “amateur artists”. There has always been amateur art in every culture and every time, but usually it was hidden behind the walls that mark the border to private spheres in houses and private property. Very view people managed to publish their own creations, whether as texts, paintings, photography or baking recipes in public spheres. And if so, these spheres were primarily limited to a certain group or location.

 

Since the advent of the internet, anyone in the world can visit a private site where a person posts his or her poems, photos, paintings or creative work. Bruckman introduces the term of the “amateur artist” as a metaphor that fits well to describe the situations of researchers studying private sites and their responsibility to protect privacy. If we conceal the names of people who create their own sites in our studies, we refuse to pay them attention and credit for their creative work. If we publish their names, we risk those people to be harmed or endangered because their sites are exposed to a larger amount of web users because of our research project. Bruckman regards private content on websites as “semi-published” work, depending on the degree how much links from and to public sites exist.

 

One of her questions is whether a private homepage with a private photography can be seen more as a place like a living room in a house where only close friends and family members have the permission to enter or if it can be compared to a public gallery where anyone is allowed and invited to enter and take a look. She thinks that our usual culturally formed terms of “privacy” and “public” do no longer work on the internet. In her opinion, even forums threads and chat room content can be seen as the work of amateur artists. These contents are also “semi published” because the intention of the person who writes them usually is to address a smaller group of people. But anyone who is spending time on the internet must be aware of the fact that he or she can be watched, observed or studied from any point in the world. That may have advantages but it also may lead to risks.

 

Design:

 

20 to 30 sites in both Germany and the USA, acquired from public link lists of communities, media sites or states with “web links” areas. It will not be easy to study the same amount of sites by males and females because many women are not interested in website technics so that the field of self-made websites is a field dominated by male “amateur artists”.

 

Definition of what a private site is: I would define a private site as a site created and ruled by a private person who doesn´t pursue commercial interests with publishing information or doesn´t try to represent institutional, political, religious or social group interests. This site refers to one special person who is the main actor in the texts on it. It may be created by another person as well, but represents one person that is presented through the site. Websites of whole families or private groups are also considered in this study. It should represent the interests of that person and show his or her creative work over and above job issues. Therefore it will occasionally show something that is normally hidden behind private walls.

 

Criterias and Questions:

 

Is the examined site more a public or a private site? How is it presented? By which design idea? Is there a visual metaphor used, like a shopping center or a house, a room or a landscape? Is this metaphor consistent through the whole site? Or is there another visual design idea or plan? How are hierarchies presented? How are hierarchy systems marked by colour , symbols or typography? Do the colours, the typography, the design idea and the appearance of the site show good or bad taste. Do they direct the intention of the site more to a public or a private status. Is the site referring to the textual metaphors of space and virtuality within the texts? Does it present itself as a space that can be compared to a similar space in reality, like a café or an office?

 

Is it according to Ralph Siegel a first generation website with plain text on grey ground or a second generation site with blink tags an exaggeration. Or is it a website with an original design idea that tries to evade the technical limits of the medium? Is the designer using a common design with a link navigation on the left site an a picture on top of the site or has he or she tried to implement his own ideas. Is he using a preformatted design like many providers offer?

 

Is the Website-Address modified to a short format like www.peter-miller.com which usually costs a duty fee or is it a free domain name like www.geocities.com/metafile/marionmiller.com … does the person presented in the site own an email address that is related to the URL like info@peter-miller.com

 

Is the site HTML-programmed or has it been build with an editor or generator software like Microsoft Frontpage? Has the designer used a stated layout or has he had the design firmly under control. Have graphics or animations been taken from other web designers Is the owner the same person who build the site or has it been build by a friend or company. Have Scripts been used, Applets or Methods like Cascading Style Sheets to fix the layout? Has the author uploaded an imprint?

 

Has the site an entry site? Has it a hierarchy with many levels or more a shallow site structure? How is the visitor guided by design and infrastructure? Is there a guidance system that uses repeated color and style to lead the visitors? Is there a sitemap?

 

Can there be found some cultural signifiers such as typical north American or German stereotypes? Are there identity signifiers - symbols that show memberships to a certain group or community?

 

What can we say about the tone that is used? Is it high flown language, scientific language, common or ordinary speech? Business language or slang?

 

Can we find interactive elements such as chat room, forum or a guestbook. What do the entries in the guestbook tell us abut the audience of the site? Are they close friends who know the owner personally or family members, are they people with the same interests? Do they come from other parts of the world? How many users visited the site? When has it been launched for the first time? Is there a site statistic that shows us how many visitors per day or years come to visit the site? How often do people sign the forum or guestbook? How many entries have been done in the past twelve months?

 

How many photos can we find that show the person who is presented throughout the site. Which other motives can be found: Vacation, pets, children, friends and relatives, Hobbies, cars or other special interests like music, film or cooking. What about the quality of the graphics? Are there image maps used? Are there actual photo galleries that tell stories or give insight upon the activities of the owner of the website?

 

Which items are describes in the site? Special Interests, Hobbies (Music, Sports etc.) or Public Affairs (“This is my hometown” or “Here is my working place.”) Are there public or social interest like “save the rain wood forest” listed.

 

Are clubs like sports teams etc. mentioned which the owner of the site participates? Are special ethnic groups represented or minorities. Which amateur art is shown? Poems, Drawings, Photography, Paintings or Literature? Is the web user trying to sell these artefacts.

 

What does the author expose – his private dates like age, gender, job, status, address. Is there a life career described, e.g. which schools the owner of the site visited throughout his career? Are Family members and friends presented by demographic information? Is there a greetings corner?

 

What can the user tell us about the links on other sites that lead to his or her site? Has he constructed a special advertising site banner to promote the site? Has he contacted search engines to incorporate the site in their archives? Has he written to public sites with link lists for permission to join those lists? How many links do lead to this site which he or she knows or even started off.

 

Of what kind are the links the author included? Are there more internal links that lead to deeper levels of the site? Or is he using many external links to sites that reflect his or her interests. Are those links located in the texts or are they listed separately.

 

What about the information content? Has the author written the texts on his or her own or has he copied some texts from the internet? Is he mentioning bibliographical references?

 

Is the site linking to online games, communities, portals, media sites or to other private sites ore sites which serve only special interests?

 

How is the author trying to “be his own hero” and presenting her advantages. Is he or she also telling us her handicaps, disadvantages or negative sites? Is he trying to be a teacher? Is he trying to share or explain his philosophy of life? Is the content too euphemistic or believable? Is the content static or dynamic –is there a calendar? Is there a weblog – a virtual diary?

 

Are the owners of the sites aware of the fact that their site is a “sightseeing place” for “online tourists” all around the world or don´t they care about that because they send their link only to closely related people.

 

I´d also like to ask them about their experiences with users from other countries and visitors of their sites or if conducting a website has ever lead to meeting interesting people with the same interests or getting to know new friend.

 

Furthermore my study will contain some descriptive and qualitative parts towards the websites I examine.

Literature:
Amy Bruckman
"Studying the amateur artist“ (2002),
O’Riordan and Bassett “
Ethics of Internet Research: Contesting the Human Subjects Research Model” (2002),
White 2002.

 

Focus

 

What do we get to know about the people who own a homepage? Which "secrets" do we find out? Can we get more information by visiting these pages than by e.g. meeting them in a café with friends or visiting them at home? What are their experiences? How do they present their “amateur art”? Which motives do they have to publish their privatcy? How do those people conceive the space they created? How much time do they spend on working on their sites? Are they also frank personalities in reality?

 

The examined sites were caught by chance in a “Google Search Session” without preferences or special search criterias, by German and American university student´s private pages (http://rankmyhomepage.studentcenter.org/index.php) and by pages in link lists and media sites like www.intrinet.de. I chose 29 German and 23 American sites first to find out of the email-addresses were still up to date. You find a complete list of the Sites and their Owner´s emails in the affix b and c.

 

Then I awaited the feedback to my first Email:

 

 

All subjects received this Email:

 

Hallo!

Mein Name ist Sandra Roth, ich studiere Medienwissenschaft und Soziologie an der Universität Trier und mache gerade eine Studie über private Homepages in Deutschland und den USA, in der Websites von Privatpersonen als „Amateur-Kunstwerke“ untersucht werden. Auch wird untersucht, wie viel die Personen auf ihren Sites von sich selbst preisgeben. Dabei habe ich zufällig auch Deine Homepage entdeckt. Wärst Du einverstanden, dass ich

a)      Deine Site untersuche (Inhalt, Gestaltung und Sitestruktur)?    Ja (  )   Nein (  )

b)      Deinen vollständigen Namen innerhalb meiner Studie nenne? Ja (  )   Nein (  )

c)      Deine Siteadresse und Deine Emailadresse innerhalb meiner Studie nenne
                                                                                                            Ja (  )   Nein (  )

Bitte ankreuzen und diese Email mit dem Betreff „Homepage-Studie an mich zurücksenden (sroth@klangnetz.de). Wenn Du nur „a)“ ankreuzt, wird die Beschreibung Deiner Site ein Teil der Studie sein, ohne dass irgend jemand Deinen Namen oder die Webadresse erfährt. Natürlich bekommst Du eine Kopie meiner Studie zugesand, wenn diese abgeschlossen ist. Ich habe übrigens auch eine Homepage: www.red-sandy.de – schau doch gerne mal vorbei. Viele Grüße, Sandra Roth.

 

Hello!

My name is Sandra Roth, I´m a student of Media Science and Sociology at Trier University and I´m currently doing a study about private homepages in Germany and the United States, in which websites of private persons are examined as “amateur art”. It will also be analysed how much of their privacy people disclose whithin their sites. In doing so, I also discovered your homepage by chance. Would you allow me to

a) Examine your site (content, design und structure)?     Yes (  ) No (  )
b) Mention your complete Name within my study?   Yes(  )  No (  )
c) Mention your site address and your email address within my study? Yes(  )   No(  )

Please tick and send this mail back to me (sroth@klangnetz.de) with the reference “Homepage Study”. If you only choose “a)”, the description of your site will be part of the study without anybody knowing your name and the web address. You will certainly receive a copy of my Study as soon as it will be finished. By the way: I also own a homepage: www.red-sandy.de – I would be glad if you visited it. Many greetings, Sandra Roth.

 

 

 

 

 

Explanation:

The subject name I used in this Email was "Homepage Study".

Hello! (I tried to be informal to create confidence)

(At first I introduced me and my project:) My name is Sandra Roth, I´m a student of Media Science and Sociology at Trier University and I´m currently doing a study about private homepages in Germany and the United States. In doing so, I also discovered your homepage by chance. (I explained that used a random sample of pages.) Would you (I chose “Du” in the German Version to create confidence) allow me to

a)      Examine your site (content, design und structure)?      Yes (  ) No (  )

b)      Mention your complete Name within my study?       Yes (  ) No (  )

c)      Mention your site address and your email address within my study? Yes (  ) No (  )

(All test subjects had the opportunity to choose if they would like to participate the study anonymously or by publishing their name or by mentioning their site address and an email feedback opportunity. I did this because many people are very thin-skinned when their name should be represented to a larger public.)

Please tick and send this mail back to me (sroth@klangnetz.de) with the reference “Homepage Study”. If you only choose “a)”, the description of your site will be part of the study without anybody knowing your name and the web address. You will certainly receive a copy of my Study as soon as it will be finished. By the way: I also own a homepage: www.red-sandy.de – I would be glad if you visited it. (I mentioned this to create confidence. I thought if they saw that I´m also a “web freak” and have no problem with showing them some of my “amateur art”, they would feel better in agreeing being part of my study) Many greetings, Sandra Roth.

Feedback

Before I started my study, I awaited the feedback of the site owners. If someone sent ME this mail, I would surely NOT participate and ignore it, because I thought there were enough sites on the web, so why should someone examine MINE? I think many people think the same way.

To the people who didn´t answer my first email or didn´t agree to examine their site, publish their name, email and site address, I send an additional email to ask them why they didn’t want to participate although everybody could get the information they presented on the web on their private pages from every point in the world. Only one of the contacted persons reacted upon this.

German female site owner E. Fuchs allowed a, denied b and c , so I asked her why she did want to participate without telling her name: " Hallo! Vielen Dank für die Erlaubnis Deiner Teilnahme. Da es in meiner Studie auch um den Schutz der Privatsphäre auf Websites geht, wäre es nett, wenn Du mir kurz in einigen Sätzen begründen könntest, warum Du NICHT damit einverstanden bist, dass Dein Name und Deine Homepageadresse in meiner Studie genannt werden, wo das Internet ja eigentlich ein offenes Feld ist, in dem jeder weltweit Deine Homepage besuchen kann. Ich werde Deinen Homepagenamen und Deinen Namen natürlich nicht erwähnen, sondern lediglich Deine Begründung veröffentlichen. Freundlicher Gruß, Sandra Roth."

Her answer was: ... "Hallo Sandra Roth, ach - das ist ganz einfach: Meine Homepage ist nach einem XHTML-Kurs an der Uni an zwei Nachmittagen entstanden und deshalb eher ein Experimentierfeld als eine wirklich liebevoll gepflegte Homepage (was man ja auch am Datum der letzten Änderung erkennen kann...). Schön, wenn jemand auf die Seite kommt, der gezielt nach ihr (bzw. MIR) gesucht hat. Andere (vor allem solche, die sich meine simpel gestrickten Seiten mit analysierendem Blick betrachten werden) müssen nicht extra dort hingelenkt werden. Trotzdem viel Spaß bei der Arbeit und Grüße aus Tübingen von E. Fuchs"

The Questionary

I sent a questionary to all the people who I chose to participate my study, independent of their degree of consent:

Hello! A few days ago I sent you an email to inform you about the fact that I´d like to examine your homepage within a study about private homepages in Germany and the United States. Within this study I worked out a questionary (affix of this email). It would be nice if you took a few minutes to answer these questions and send the filled out form back to sroth@klangnetz.de. Of course your dates will be analysed anonymously and treated confidentially. Many greetings, Sandra Roth, www.red-sandy.de Thank you for participating my study. It would be nice if you could also tell me something about your experiences with your site. Please tick! You find both of the blank questionaries - the german and the american version in the Affix.

Feedback

I received seven of these questionaries back. So this study cannot be regarded as representative. Four were answered by German male site owners and three came back from american site owners. Two out of those were male and one was female. In addition to the questionaire, I took a look the content of the sites. What do they focus on? I leaned on the categories in question 15 and worked out more categories throughout my study. I mentioned special features (web blogs etc.) and took a look on design, content and structure of the sites. Tomas Roth (http://www.tommi-pictures.de) and Christa Watson (http://www.quadgirls.com) allowed me to examine their sites in the descriptive part of my study although they didn´t fill out my questionary. So the content of their sites will also be mentioned here.

 

The sites

Björn Heil´s site www.bjoern-heil.de doesn´t focus on design but on content. Web-Guru David Siegel would classify his site as a second generation website. Health, sports and a lucky life are very important to him. The link section supports this attitude. He also tells us something about his favourite books about world views, religion, food and health. Picture-Galleries from his "Rohkosttreffen" are published and his curriculum vitae shows that he must be a breakaway who left his job and started to make a business out of his Philosophy of live which can be found under www.glueck-erleben.de. 268 visitors, mostly from Germany, signed his guestbook.

Daniel Rüd´s page www.danielrued.com has a professional artwork and a moderate design. He works in the field of software engineering and seems to know that one is punishable if he doesn´t include an imprint on his site. 8500 pictures tell the story of his private life in the past six years: Parties, Cars and Soccer. His Webblog has been updated about twice a month in 2005 and more often in winter 2004. Some Links and an FAQ-Section give Information of his Job as a "Fachinformatiker". Music, Computers and Web-Programming. He owns about 50 web-domains of which only 13 are already containing websites. His homepage is well structured and appeals cold, informal and somehow calculating.

The website of Helmut Zenz is very traditional and "bayrisch". A "Trachtenverein"-Section show his connectivity to his home and traditions. His home village Obing is described in any perspective a village offers: Geographical, historical and social. Many themes reflect his catholic attitude and career. He is a real Fan of the life and work of Don Bosco and knows a lot about christian sociology. Helmut Zenz is a good example that personal preferences from the real live of a person are transmitted into the web and reflext his or her sociological background. We do not get to know any personal information which would be interesting from a psychological point of view but we see all of the sociological structures this person lives in.

Thomas Hagi hijacks his visitors into a world of dreams by showing a romantic personal photo which has been shot from a planeflight above the clouds on the first page of his site. He is not a professional designer - he uses a standard font and all the contents are centered without typographical background knowledge. But he seems to have a sure feeling for harmonic colour composing. The back of his site is blue and fits well to the photo on the startpage. Headlines are bigger than the content text. Apart from a place where he tries to sell a motorcycle, he conducts a photo gallery with very professional motives from vacation trips, cats, oldtimers and a mississippi riverboat queen. He doesn´t offer much information about himself which corresponds to his self-description of being a shy and uncommunicative person in public. His site contents the regular from left-above to right-below hierarchy and he waives a guestbook on his site http://t-hagi.ch

John Yowan´s webhome http://myweb.cableone.net/theyowans/johna.html is a place with colourful fonts on a black background-screen. His starting-page is more or less a linklist with many intertextual links. The information seems to have a random structure. Among photos, essays and a web-blog we get to know a lot of his hobbies, friends and his favourite music. He is a typical American well integrated pupil with some computer skills but no design experience and his page looks like a lock box in an American highschool - as it is often presented on German TV series. The icons he uses have been taken from the internet and his private photos are far from professional. He has no preferences that seem special, conspicuous or non conform and is still developing his own personality as an adult.

K. (female) Rosier appears as a person with many secrets. She likes "Van Helsing", Fiction Press, "Star Wars" and Philosophy and seems to be a student at the age of about 20. Her web-blog on www.cc.gatech.edu/~missk/Frame.html shows that she deals with her environment like a typical dreamy girl but is also critically watching herself and defining the changes and developments in her young life like the author of an autobiographical teenager-story. This is stressed by the title of the page "Redefined". She publishes short stories and poems and collects quotes which she regards as significant. She´s a good example of the fact that the websites of girls or women often differ a lot from those of boys or men. Also her design is very romantic, dreamy and individual. She has the talent to postmark the medium internet with her own aesthetic attitude.

Peter Turnham regards his web presence http://ptthome.club.fr/main.htm as a private space where he puts pictures on the wall - and so it appears. Among a lot of very professional and original photos of parrots, his family, vacation tours and a pictured story of his "in the blood" hobby motorbikes, he published a huge variety of camera models he collected. His photos could be distributed as postcards - but he doesn´t seem to sell them because the galleries are completed with personal texts, memories and further information. Many really nice pictures have not been scanned or prepared very careful which reduces the pleasure to look at them. Very interesting is the fact that every section has a watermarked background with a single-colored motive that fits well to the theme it underlines. Peter seems to be a creative mind who uses the web to present his favourite hobby - photography.

Thomas Roth is a mid-twen media designer from south-west Germany who uses his site www.tommi-pictures.de to present his bias for movies in many forms. Among his personal "Top Ten Movie Charts", he also dedicated a section to his favourite actress Sandra Bullock. A very funny gallery shows the activities of the Sandra-Bullock-Fanclub he founded. Sparkling wine with Sandra-Bullock-labels and redesigned posters proof that his jobskills are also used in his leisure time to create entertaining art with a very individual charm. Besides the common links to a guestbook and a forum at the end of his linklist, he also lists links to movie companies, producers, actors, composers and - of course - Sandra-Bullock-fansites. The site design is very simple and understated white on blue, but very business-like and aware of a kind of public audience which may hang together with the advertising-job of the author.

Christa Watson welcomes her audience with a very creative but unprofessional design. The female motorcyclist on the picture at the top executes a movement out of the comprehensive design which is a "deadly sin" among professionals. Also the experimental title proves not much typographical skills but resourcefulness. Christa, 19 of Ohio, races ATV's herself and created her site as a public space to share experiences with other female racers. Among information of racing events and results she provides some information about herself talking about herself in a third person perspective ("Read what makes her lucky"). She created a lot of feedback-items such as a questions-area and contact-possibilities. We also find a list of all her female racing fellows with a short summing up list of the main characteristics of each of them. She presents herself as a team-player. The most interesting thing in this site is the apparent incommensurateness of femininity, spirit of adventure and a usually male dominated hobby which is well sponsored by the colors she uses - black, white and pink.

 

Additional information about the people who filled out the questionary:

 

Björn Heil: Germany (36103 Flieden)

http://www.bjoern-heil.de

30 years old

"Industriekaufmann", now working as "selbständiger Lebens-Freude-Berater"

allowed site-examination, publication of his complete name, site adress and email address

 

Daniel Rüd: Germany (61200 Wölfersheim)

http://www.danielrued.com

26 years old

student "Informatik und Mathematik auf Lehramt an Gymnasien"

allowed site-examination, publication of his complete name, site address and email address

 

Helmut Zenz: Germany (wohnhaft in Benediktbeuern und in Obing)

http://www.helmut-zenz.de/helmut.htm

37 years old

Theologe und Politikwissenschaftler, heute Aspirantat bei den Salesianern Don Boscos.

allowed site-examination, publication of his complete name, site address and email address

 

Thomas Hagi: Germany or Switzerland (no exact location mentioned)

http://t-hagi.ch

no age or birthday mentioned

no curriculum vitae published

answered the questionary without allowing or denying publication of his data.

 

John Yowan: USA (Chanute, Kansas)

http://myweb.cableone.net/theyowans/johna.html

17 years old

Junior at High School

answered the questionary without allowing or denying publication of his data.

 

K. (female) Rosier: USA (hometown Houston, TX ; currently living in Atlanta, GA

http://www.cc.gatech.edu/~missk/Frame.html

"Ageless"

"first year on Georgia Tech"

allowed site-examination, publication of his complete name, site address and email address

 

 

Peter Turnham: USA (no hometown mentioned)

http://ptthome.club.fr/main.htm

no age or birthday mentioned

no curriculum vitae published

answered the questionary without allowing or denying publication of his data.

 

Here are the answers:

 

1) Was it a thrilling feeling to upload it the first time?                              Yes (  )      No (  )

Björn Heil: yes

Daniel Rüd: no

Helmut Zenz: yes

Thomas Hagi: yes

John Yowan: yes

K. (female) Rosier: no

Peter Turnham: yes


2) Did you get feedback merely from your friends or from people all over the world?

Björn Heil: Ich bekam Feedback aus der ganzen Welt, über das Gästebuch, sehr viel über eMail und sogar einige Anrufe.

Daniel Rüd: Im Prinzip von Leuten aus der ganzen Welt zu den diversesten Themen.

Helmut Zenz: Aufgrund des Charakters meiner Seiten wirklich aus der ganzen Welt, von ganz unterschiedlichen Leuten. Viele meiner Freunde haben erst sehr spät meine Seite entdeckt, da ich dafür keine „Werbung“ gemacht habe.

Thomas Hagi: Ausschliesslich durch Freunde und Bekannte.

John Yowan: People all over the world.

K. (female) Rosier: neither.

Peter Turnham: "x"

3) How frank would you reckon yourself when you are with your friends? (I choose a Likert-Scale with seven items.)

very frank     1(  )   2(  )   3(  )   4(  )   5(  )   6(  )   7(  )      very uncommunicative

Björn Heil: 2

Daniel Rüd: 1

Helmut Zenz: 3

Thomas Hagi: 2

John Yowan: 1

K. (female) Rosier: 2

Peter Turnham: 4

 

4) How frank would you reckon yourself when you are in a community of foreign people?

very frank     1(  )   2(  )   3(  )   4(  )   5(  )   6(  )   7(  )      very uncommunicative

Björn Heil: 3

Daniel Rüd: 3

Helmut Zenz: 4

Thomas Hagi: 7 ("der scheue Medienintellektuelle")

John Yowan: 1

K. (female) Rosier: no answer

Peter Turnham: 4

 

5) Did you ever gain negative experiences with your homepage? Which?

Björn Heil: Gelegentlich kommen negative Gästebucheinträge. Seit ich es aber auf „moderated“ umgestellt habe ist das kein Problem mehr.

Daniel Rüd: Namen, Adresse und Geburtsdatum wurden missbraucht, um bei eBay gefakete Accounts anzumelden und somit eBay-User zu betrügen (siehe Punkt 14). Die Kommentarfunktion bei Bildern und das Gästebuch werden häufig dazu benutzt, um die abgebildeten Personen zu beleidigen oder zu beschimpfen bzw. einfach nur um Werbung für die eigene Site zu machen.

Helmut Zenz: Da manche meiner gesammelten Informationen für bestimmte Personen unangenehm waren, habe ich einige Male Drohungen mit dem Rechtsanwalt bekommen und eine Unterlassungsklage mit einigen Schwierigkeiten abwenden können.

Thomas Hagi: Bis anhin keine und ich hoffe es bleibt auch so.

John Yowan: None so far.

K. (female) Rosier: Not really.

Peter Turnham: "n"

 

6) How do you personally regard the space you created on the web? (several ticks possible)

Like a visiting card (  )

Like the front of my house where people who are passing by take a short look into my window (  )

Like a living room where I welcome friends (  )

Like my private room where I put pictures on the wall (  )

Like a studio where anyone can take a look upon my private art (  )

 

Björn Heil: Als Visitenkarte.

Daniel Rüd: Als Visitenkarte.
Als Wohnzimmer, wo ich Freunde und Bekannte empfange.
Als Atelier, wo jeder sich meine privaten Kunstwerke ansehen kann.

Helmut Zenz: Als Atelier, wo jeder sich meine privaten Kunstwerke ansehen kann.

Thomas Hagi: Als Wohnzimmer, wo ich Freunde und Bekannte empfange.

John Yowan: Like a living room where I welcome friends.
Like a studio where anyone can take a look upon my private art.

K. (female) Rosier: Like the front of my house where people who are passing by take a short look into my window.

Peter Turnham: Like my private room where I put pictures on the wall

 

7) How long has your site been on the web?     Since ______________

Björn Heil: 24.02.2002.

Daniel Rüd: Seit 1998.

Helmut Zenz: Mit eigener Adresse seit 2000 (vorher aber schon unter anderen Adressen ab 1995).

Thomas Hagi: Seit Februar 2005.

John Yowan: Since 2004.

K. (female) Rosier: Since 2004.

Peter Turnham: Since 5 years.

 

8) How many people visited it ____________

Björn Heil: ca. 17.000

Daniel Rüd: 250.000

Helmut Zenz: Laut Statistik habe ich täglich mehrere tausend Zugriffe.

Thomas Hagi: 43

John Yowan: Over 40.000

K. (female) Rosier: "unknown"

Peter Turnham: 10.000

 

9) How many hours did you overall work on it?

Up to five hours (  )

Up to twenty hours (  )

Up to a hundred hours (  )

More than a hundred hours (  )

 

Björn Heil: More than a hundred hours

Daniel Rüd: More than a hundred hours

Helmut Zenz: More than a hundred hours

Thomas Hagi: Up to twenty hours

John Yowan: Up to a hundred hours

K. (female) Rosier: Up to five hours

Peter Turnham: More than a hundred hours.

 

10) Are you constantly updating it?       Yes (  )   No (  )

Björn Heil: Yes

Daniel Rüd: Yes

Helmut Zenz: Yes

Thomas Hagi: Yes

John Yowan: Yes

K. (female) Rosier: No

Peter Turnham: No

 

11) How often do YOU visit it?

Daily (  )

Weekly (  )

Monthly (  )

Infrequent less than monthly (  )

 

Björn Heil: Weekly

Daniel Rüd: Daily

Helmut Zenz: Daily

Thomas Hagi: Weekly

John Yowan: Daily

K. (female) Rosier: Monthly

Peter Turnham: Infrequent less than monthly

 

 

12) How did you create it?

A friend programmed it (  )

A professional site designer created it  (  )

I chose a preset and added my personal content (  )

I created it with a web-authoring tool (Frontpage, etc.) (  )

I programmed by per hand (HTML etc.)

 

Björn Heil: I created it with a web-authoring tool (Frontpage, etc.)

Daniel Rüd: I programmed by per hand (HTML etc.)

Helmut Zenz: I created it with a web-authoring tool (Frontpage, etc.)
And: I programmed by per hand (HTML etc.)

Thomas Hagi: I created it with a web-authoring tool (Frontpage, etc.)

John Yowan: I created it with a web-authoring tool (Frontpage, etc.)

K. (female) Rosier: I programmed by per hand (HTML etc.)

Peter Turnham: I programmed by per hand (HTML etc.)

 

13) How did you promote it (several ticks possible)

(  ) I added it to search engines
(  ) I informed my friends about the address
(  ) I added the address to public link areas (of communities etc.)
(  ) I signed guestbooks to get attention
(  ) I did nothing to promote it

Björn Heil: I informed my friends about the address.

Daniel Rüd: I added it to search engines.
I informed my friends about the address.
Quote: "Suchmaschinenoptimierung: u.a. Linktausch & Linkkauf ;-)"

Helmut Zenz: I did nothing to promote it

Thomas Hagi: I informed my friends about the address.

John Yowan: I added it to search engines
I informed my friends about the address
I signed guestbooks to get attention

K. (female) Rosier: I did nothing to promote it.

Peter Turnham: I added it to search engines.

 

14) Did you ever add a text or picture on your site which you later removed because it was “too private” to be published? Which?

Björn Heil: no

Daniel Rüd: Hatte in meinem Steckbrief mein Geburtsdatum stehen. Habe dort nur noch den Monat und das Jahr stehen, da diese Daten missbraucht wurden um bei eBay Accounts auf meinen Namen anzumelden und dort eBay-Kunden zu betrügen. Strafanzeige wurde von mir gestellt. Das genaue Geb-Datum ist zwar weiterhin nachvollziehbar, aber nur durch mehrere Klicks (z.B. Fotos von Geburtstagsfeiern).

Helmut Zenz: no

Thomas Hagi: Ich stelle grundsätzlich keine Personen, welche mir bekannt sind, in meine Webseite ... Nein. (Anm. I think he got the question wrong.)

John Yowan: no

K. (female) Rosier: no

Peter Turnham: no

15) Which content do you prefer on your site? (several ticks possible)

(  ) poems

(  ) private texts and stories

(  ) my own paintings

(  ) photos

(  ) holiday

(  ) hobbies

(  ) culture (music, films, books, …)

(  ) presenting my family and friends

(  ) presenting my personal affectations (favourite dish, colour, etc.)

(  ) presenting my favourite links

(  ) information on an intellectual topic (e.g. scientific themes or research projects)

(  ) presenting entertaining and amusing facts of my life

(  ) other: ____________________________________________

 

Björn Heil:

( x ) Private Texte und Geschichten

( x ) Photos

( x ) Hobbies

( x ) Meine persönlichen Vorlieben präsentieren (Lieblingsessen, -farbe, etc.)

( x ) Meine Lieblingslinks

( x ) die Darstellung unterhaltsamer oder amüsanter Fakten aus meinem Leben

 

Daniel Rüd:

(X) Private Texte und Geschichten

(X) Photos

(X) Hobbies

(X) die Darstellung unterhaltsamer oder amüsanter Fakten aus meinem Leben

(X) andere: Informationen zur Ausbildung und Prüfung des Fachinformatikers in der Fachrichtung Anwendungsentwicklung (IHK)

 

Helmut Zenz:

( x ) Hobbies

( x ) Kultur (Musik, Filme, Bücher, …)

( x ) Meine Lieblingslinks

( x ) Informationen über intellektuelle Themen (bspw. Wissenschaftliche Themen oder Forschungsprojekte)

 

 

 

Thomas Hagi:

(X) Photos

(X) Urlaub

(X) Hobbies

(X) Meine Lieblingslinks

 

John Yowan:

( x ) private texts and stories

( x ) photos

( x ) hobbies

( x ) culture (music, films, books, …)

( x ) presenting my family and friends

( x ) presenting my favourite links

( x ) information on an intellectual topic (e.g. scientific themes or research projects)

( x ) presenting entertaining and amusing facts of my life

 

K. (female) Rosier:

( x ) poems

( x ) private texts and stories

( x ) photos

( x ) hobbies

( x ) culture (music, films, books, …)

( x ) presenting my favourite links

 

Peter Turnham:

( x ) photos

( x ) hobbies

Affix A) Questionary

 

American Version

1) Was it a thrilling feeling to upload it the first time?                              Yes (  )      No (  )


2) Did you get feedback merely from your friends or from people all over the world?



 

__________________________________________________________________________

 

3) How frank would you reckon yourself when you are with your friends? (I choose a Likert-Scale with seven itemns.)

very frank     1(  )   2(  )   3(  )   4(  )   5(  )   6(  )   7(  )      very uncommunicative

 

4) How frank would you reckon yourself when you are in a community of foreign people?

very frank     1(  )   2(  )   3(  )   4(  )   5(  )   6(  )   7(  )      very uncommunicative

 

5) Did you ever gain negative experiences with your homepage? Which?

 



 

__________________________________________________________________________

 

 

 

 

6) How do you personally regard the space you created on the web? (several ticks possible)

Like a visiting card (  )

Like the front of my house where people who are passing by take a short look into my window (  )

Like a living room where I welcome friends (  )

Like my private room where I put pictures on the wall (  )

Like a studio where anyone can take a look upon my private art (  )

 

7) How long has your site been on the web? ­­­­­­­­­­­Since ______________

 

8) How many people visited it ____________

 

9) How many hours did you overall work on it?

Up to five hours (  )

Up to twenty hours (  )

Up to a hundred hours (  )

More than a hundred hours (  )

 

10) Are you constantly updating it?       Yes (  )   No (  )

 

11) How often do YOU visit it?

Daily (  )

Weekly (  )

Monthly (  )

Infrequent less than monthly (  )

 

 

12) How did you create it?

A friend programmed it (  )

A professional site designer created it  (  )

I chose a preset and added my personal content (  )

I created it with a web-authoring tool (Frontpage, etc.) (  )

I programmed by per hand (HTML etc.)

 

13) How did you promote it (several ticks possible)

(  ) I added it to search engines
(  ) I informed my friends about the address
(  ) I added the address to public link areas (of communities etc.)
(  ) I signed guestbooks to get attention
(  ) I did nothing to promote it

 

14) Did you ever add a text or picture on your site which you later removed because it was “too private” to be published? Which?



 

__________________________________________________________________________

 

15) Which content do you prefer on your site? (several ticks possible)

(  ) poems

(  ) private texts and stories

(  ) my own paintings

(  ) photos

(  ) holiday

(  ) hobbies

(  ) culture (music, films, books, …)

(  ) presenting my family and friends

(  ) presenting my personal affectations (favourite dish, colour, etc.)

(  ) presenting my favourite links

(  ) information on an intellectual topic (e.g. scientific themes or research projects)

(  ) presenting entertaining and amusing facts of my life

(  ) other: ____________________________________________

 

Thank you for answering these questions. Please send back this questionary to sroth@klangnetz.de

 

German Version:

1) War es ein aufregendes Gefühl, als Du sie ins Internet gestellt hast? Ja (  )    Nein (  )


2) Hast Du ausschließlich Feedback von Deinen Freunden bekommen, oder von Leuten aus der ganzen Welt?



 

__________________________________________________________________________

 

3) Wie offen schätzt Du Dich selbst ein, wenn Du mit Leuten aus Deinem Bekanntenkreis zusammen bist?

sehr offen     1(  )   2(  )   3(  )   4(  )   5(  )   6(  )   7(  )      sehr verschlossen

 

4) Wie offen schätzt Du Dich selbst ein, wenn Du mit einem Kreis aus fremden Leuten zusammen bist?

sehr offen     1(  )   2(  )   3(  )   4(  )   5(  )   6(  )   7(  )      sehr verschlossen

 

 

5) Hast Du jemals negative Erfahrungen mit Deiner Homepage gemacht? Welche?

 



 

__________________________________________________________________________

 

6) Wie würdest Du persönlich den Platz beschreiben, den Du im Web geschaffen hast? (Mehrfachnennungen möglich)

Als Visitenkarte (  )

Als Vorderseite meines Hauses, wo Menschen, die vorbeigehen, einen kurzen Blick in mein Fenster werfen können (  )

Als Wohnzimmer, wo ich Freunde und Bekannte empfange. (  )

Als mein privates Zimmer, in dem ich Bilder an die Wand hänge (  )

Als Atelier, wo jeder sich meine privaten Kunstwerke ansehen kann (  )

 

7) Seit wann steht Deine Site im Web? ­­­­­­­­­­­Seit ______________

 

8) Wie viele Menschen haben sie bisher besucht? ____________

 

9) Wie viele Stunden hast Du insgesamt daran gearbeitet?

Bis zu fünf Stunden (  )

Bis zu zehn Stunden (  )

Bis zu einhundert Stunden (  )

Mehr als einhundert Stunden (  )

 

10) Aktualisierst Du die Site immer noch ständig?       Ja (  )   Nein (  )

 

11) Wie oft besuchst DU sie?

Täglich (  )

Wöchentlich (  )

Monatlich (  )

Seltener als einmal monatlich (  )

 

12) Wie hast Du sie erstellt?

Ein Freund hat sie programmiert (  )

Ein professioneller Designer hat sie kreiert (  )

Ich benutze einen Wizard mit Voreinstellungen und fügte meinen persönlichen Inhalt hinzu (  )

Ich benutzte ein Web-Autorenprogramm (Frontpage, etc.) (  )

Ich programmierte sie per Hand (HTML etc.)

 

13) Wie hast Du Werbung für Deine Site gemacht? (Mehrfachnennungen möglich)

(  ) Ich fügte sie zu Suchmaschinen hinzu
(  ) Ich informierte meine Freunde über die Adresse
(  ) Ich ließ sie in öffentliche Linklisten aufnehmen (von Gemeinden etc.)
(  ) Ich signierte Gästebücher, um Aufmerksamkeit zu erlangen
(  ) Ich habe sie nicht promotet

 

14) Hast Du jemals einen Text oder ein Bild auf Deine Site gestellt, dass Du später wieder entfernt hast, weil es Dir zum Veröffentlichen “zu privat” erschien? Welche(n/s)?



 

__________________________________________________________________________

 

 

 

15) Welche Art von Inhalt bevorzugst Du auf Deiner Site (Mehrfachnennungen möglich)

(  ) Gedichte

(  ) Private Texte und Geschichten

(  ) Meine eigenen Bilder und Zeichnungen

(  ) Photos

(  ) Urlaub

(  ) Hobbies

(  ) Kultur (Musik, Filme, Bücher, …)

(  ) Meine Familie und Freunde vorstellen

(  ) Meine persönlichen Vorlieben präsentieren (Lieblingsessen, -farbe, etc.)

(  ) Meine Lieblingslinks

(  ) Informationen über intellektuelle Themen (bspw. Wissenschaftliche Themen oder Forschungsprojekte)

(  ) die Darstellung unterhaltsamer oder amüsanter Fakten aus meinem Leben

(  ) andere: ____________________________________________

 

Danke für die Beantwortung meiner Fragen. Bitte senden Sie diesen Fragebogen an sroth@klangnetz.de zurück.

 

Affix B) Email- and Site-List of German Site Owners:

bernhardschaub@aol.com,

dfmaknapwerth@aol.com,

monroe1205@aol.com,

johnerichrohde@aol.com,

uli.frischknecht@web.de,

info@huettencp.de,

Sandra.Wilhelm@sandras-geschichten.de,

juergen-hartmann01@onlinehome.de,

tommi@g-r-productions.de,

moby63@gmx.de,

Fligor@web.de,

Astrid.Gonsior@t-online.de,

Jens.Raacke@gmx.de,

kontakt@danielrued.com,

bh874@web.de,

thagi@hispeed.ch,

michael@uni-hohenheim.de,

c_ipsen@web.de,

elisabeth.fuchs@student.uni-tuebingen.de,

helmut.zenz@t-online.de,

KaiH@NurScheisseImKopf.de,

matzeblume@gmx.de,

mephista81@web.de,

UBurmester@t-online.de,
Baetzel@stud-mailer.uni-marburg.de,

 

The Adresses johnerichrohde@aol.com, helmut.zenz@t-online.de and KaiH@NurScheisseImKopf.de did not work, so I tried to contact those persons via Guestbook or Feedback-Form if their site included one. M. Kessler didn´t want his email address to be published.

 

Three of the German sites were not mentioning an email address. I contacted two of them via feedback form and one via signing the guestbook. Some pages did not tell real or full names.

 

List of German Sites:

 

Bernhard Schaub

http://hometown.aol.de/__121b_Pd+qOlWlVyYAGBAQbajhCFOeeTochaNoS3IxzK/7SPPlKTNEL/m9zA==

 

 

Aloys Knapwerth

http://hometown.aol.de/__121b_NlhbOBLbN4o47tkHhcgJfz0mFLybWaCszvEN5QlgQ9XHjdkL/IIZrA==

 

 

Sabine xy

http://hometown.aol.de/__121b_/ITTJBLyA/l6I9R+SRc9yb75dPFu+EUY

 

Brummbaer, der Tischler
http://hometown.aol.de/__121b_kIr/sI5O9pXHZ7fkY098bEXahiH836jEQuMq3kE1vgWdhmNAULt/Ng==

Ulrich Frischknecht
http://www.students.uni-marburg.de/~Frischkn/

 

Claus-Peter Huetten
http://hometown.aol.de/__121b_cp2rzEnH1cOFOUMcz7hQ6zDZQMejYmrkDEXfde9B8B4=

 

Sandra Wilhelm
http://www.sandras-geschichten.de/

"Sehr geehrte Frau Roth.
Ich gerne eine Ihrer Fragen beantworten, aber ich weiß nicht, wie ich eine von diesen Fragen ankreuzen soll. Ich hätte mich sowieso für Frage a entschieden. Bitte seien Sie mir nicht böse, dass ich mich nicht gemeldet habe. Gruß, Sandra Maria Wilhelm"

 

Jürgen Hartmann
http://www.juergenhartmann01.de/

 

Tomas Roth
http://www.tommi-pictures.de/
allowed a, b and c

 

Bernd Irmen
http://home.arcor.de/bernd.irmen/

 

Florian Langer
http://florian.faule-schweine.com

 

Astrid Gonsior
http://www.astridgonsior.de/start.htm

 

Jens Raacke
http://home.arcor.de/raacke/

 

Daniel Rüd
http://www.danielrued.com
allowed all
answered questionnaire

Björn Heil
http://www.bjoern-heil.de
accepted a,b and c and
answered questionnaire

 

Thomas Hagi
http://t-hagi.ch/
answered questionnaire without allowing or denying participation

Thomas Numberger (called his page "Biggest Homepage in Germany")
http://www.thomas-numberger.de/
>>> Email per Eingabeformular

 

M. Kessler
denied a, b and c with the comment that his page ist already very old and he didn´t want it to be examined

 

Michael Breyer
http://www.uni-hohenheim.de/~michael/

 

Christiane Ipsen
http://www-nw.uni-regensburg.de/~.ipc01848.8.stud.uni-regensburg.de/

 

David Wessel
http://www.davidwessel.de/
>>> Email per Eingabeformular

 

Helmut Zenz
http://www.helmut-zenz.de/helmut.htm
accepted a, b and c,

answered questionnaire

 

Heiko Aslanoglu
http://wrstud.urz.uni-wuppertal.de/~sa0010/
>>> Email per Gästebuchanfrage

 

Kai Niederhagen
http://wrstud.urz.uni-wuppertal.de/~ea0717/

 

 

Kerstin Dirksen
http://www.geocities.com/kedistern/

Ulrich Burmester
http://www-stud.fh-kempten.de/~uburmest/

 

Saskia Betzel
http://www.students.uni-marburg.de/~Baetzel/

 

Email- and Site-List of American Site Owners:

 

CA.Steier@comcast.net,

ptthome@club-internet.fr,

hfdesgn@aol.com,

John6@cableone.net,

missk@cc.gatech.edu,

racsper@hotmail.com,

racer041987@yahoo.com,

andy@eyeing-eternity.com,

vampireslayer930@hotmail.com,

Christa@quadgirls.com,

kari@trustinjesus.net,

NikkiF610@aol.com,

fire@vallnet.com,

fallon_angel@hotmail.com,

guccibabe03@yahoo.com,

ominousguy@yahoo.com,

 

Seven sites did not include an Email-Address. Two of them at least had a guestbook and one an additional contact form.

 

The Addresses guccibabe03@yahoo.com, kari@trustinjesus.net, fire@vallnet.com, were disabled. I tried to contact them by Guestbook or Feedback-Form if included on their site.

 

 

List of American Sites:

Christoph Steier
http://home.comcast.net/~ca.steier/

 

Peter Turnham
http://ptthome.club.fr/main.htm
answered questionary without allowing or denying publication of his data.

 

Sarah (no family name quoted and no email or feedback possibility offered, so I signed the guestbook)
http://www.matmice.com/home/sezzysarah

 

Andy Grider
http://www.andygrider.com/

 

Olivia (no family name quoted and no email or feedback possibility offered, no guestbook)
http://livi.starlitwebs.com/index.htm

 

John Yowan
http://myweb.cableone.net/theyowans/johna.html
answered questionary without allowing or denying publication of his data.

 

Jessica Gilby (no email, feedback possibility or guestbook)
http://www.angelfire.com/realm2/scary_guild/

 

Katherine (no family name quoted, no email, feedback possibility or guestbook)
http://www.thedarkeneddahlia.com/

 

"Redefined" (no name quoted) ... by email contact I found out that her name was K. Rosier.
http://www.cc.gatech.edu/~missk/Frame.html
allowed a, b and c
answered questionnaire

 

Racsper´s Word (no name quoted)
http://racsper.tripod.com/

 

David Lee
http://www.davidlee1987.4t.com/

 

Jesse (no family name quoted, no email adress mentioned, no guest book, )
http://www.freewebs.com/je55e/

 

Andy (no family name quoted)
http://www.eyeing-eternity.com/

 

Sildaekar (no real name quoted)
http://www.freewebs.com/sildaekar/

 

Stephanie Carter (no email address listed, but a contact form)
http://www.xanga.com/home.aspx?user=o0oStephieo0o

 

Christa Watson
http://www.quadgirls.com/
allowed a, b and c

 

Julie W. (no family name quoted, no email address listed, but a guestbook)
http://www.geocities.com/smallamusements/home.html

 

Kari (no family name quoted)
http://www.angelfire.com/home/kari/

 

Nikki F. (no family name quoted)
http://www.angelfire.com/journal/nikkif/

 

Joey (no family name quoted)
http://www.geocities.com/red_black_fire/

 

Jimmy Fallon
http://www.geocities.com/fallon_angel_17/index.html

 

Jade (no family name quoted)
http://www.geocities.com/guccibabe03/countryside.html

 

Dan (no family name quoted)
http://www.geocities.com/unenlightend/

 

I also received Errors from the Adresses alien.nrw@web.de and sunshine1990@freenet.de. Two of the Adresses listed above were rediredted to those adresses. I couldn´t comprehend their original email source.