One glance at Bryan Floyd’s Facebook page and you’ll know his email address, his cellphone number and that his favourite movie is Orgazmo.

“I’m a pretty open book. I don’t really mind,” the 25-year-old Weston resident said. “I have my phone number, tons of pictures.”

Floyd recently restricted access to his profile to his friends on the networking site and had no idea his information was open to the public before. “I didn’t really care, I guess,” he said.

Floyd’s openness might come from a need to be liked, University of Guelph psychologists say.
On Facebook, “our identity is created by what other people are saying about you,” said Amy Muise, who conducted research with Emily Christofides. “The more you disclose and the more others can engage with you on Facebook, the more ... visible and social you are.”

Their study found undergraduates ages 17 to 24 who disclose a lot of personal information on Facebook are driven by the desire to be popular.

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner awarded them a $50,000 federal grant this summer to extend the study to more age groups. The broadened study will be completed by March 2010.

While young people care about privacy, popularity might be more important to them, Muise said.

“They reported caring about privacy, but because Facebook is where they experience their social lives, it might be too risky not to participate.”