“Self disclosure refers to the content of a conversation characterized by the revelation of personal and intimate information” (Dietz Uhler & Bishop-Clark & Howard, 2005).
Self disclosure can be portrayed in many shapes and forms, two of the main portrayals of self disclosure are in face to face communication and online communication. These two are vastly different in their levels of disclosure and the self disclosure theories involved with them. In the following essay I will discuss the Social Penetration Theory (Altman & Taylor, 1973), the Johari Window (Luft, 1969)
Face to face communication is most commonly used in day to day experiences. Due to this regularity, often people are not willing to disclose much information about themselves on a day to day basis. The Social Penetration Theory (Altman & Taylor, 1973) explains, “That as relationships develop, communication moves from relatively shallow, non-intimate levels to deeper, more personal ones.” (Altman & Taylor, 1973). The different stages of this theory can be metaphorically viewed as an onion, with the concept of self in the center, therefore being the most protected and hardest to disclose and more material subjects on the outer such as, tastes in clothes, music and food. An evident example of this can be seen at gatherings of people meeting for the first time, where only their likes and dislikes are discussed. However a group of close friends out for dinner would disclose more information about their fears, fantasies and concept of self, because they can relate to each other on a deeper level. Altman and Taylor (1973) did abandon several main factors that can contribute to face to face self disclosure, these include race, gender and ethnic background. These factors could greatly increase or decrease the rate at which the onion is ‘shed.’
Another theory, known as the Johari Window (Luft, 1969) can be used to understand face to face communication in the context of self...