Smart Thinking

Opening the Johari Window

The Johari Window is a thinking framework for understanding personality and social interaction. Could its relevance be extended in the digital social age?

The JOHARI WINDOW is a model for describing personal awareness types and human interaction.

The Johari Window

Figure 1 – The Johari Window devised by Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham

The Four Quadrants of the Johari Window

Quadrant A: encapsulates personal awareness and a wish to share information with others.

Quadrant B: encapsulates personal awareness of a different type. The motivations for concealment are plentiful (bad habits, competitive advantage, Machiavellianism, protection of personal interests etc.). The size of this box tends to diminish as trust relationships expand, however I contend: a) there are many types and levels of concealment implied here and b) many different levels of trust in different social circles.

Quadrant C: encapsulates weak personal awareness (we assume others see us as we see ourselves). This quadrant (in the context of Social Networking) provides an interesting opportunity for introspection and awareness development from social feedback, Social Network Analysis and sentiment analysis.

Quadrant D: Donald Rumsfeld’s infamous Known Knowns speech of 2002 sums up this quadrant.

Emotional Intelligence: Why it Can Matter More Than IQ

Social Networks and Online Privacy – A Prophetic View

Just under two years ago I wrote a somewhat prophetic article concerning Privacy and Social Networks in which I argued for the need for additional privacy controls and multiple walled gardens within social networks. Facebook lists were a crude approximation, but Goolge+ Circles now excel at delivering the concept. A sister post in February 2010 discussed Social Search and the Integrity of the Social Graph, concluding that Google was heading (with purpose) into the Social Networking space.

What I said back in January 2010:

Visualisation of Social Network privacy controls is poor. The granularity of access controls is too coarse. My solution would be creation of (either my privacy “Onion model”) or perhaps more simply a ‘radar’ or quadrant model on which connections could be placed within ‘trust zones’ (by dragging and dropping them onto the appropriate region). Configuration is half the battle, and visualisation of the resultant privacy controls effect is essential. This is where current controls are weakest. I also want multiple walled gardens to play with (where I could segregate user groups) and ensure no (uncontrolled) information leakage between…

A trust and privacy ‘radar’ would be equally interesting, with those closest to the centre having the greater trust relationship and access to more personal data.

Working with Emotional Intelligence

The Johari Window and Google+ Circles


Privacy and Google Circles

Figure 2 – The Google+ Circle Model

I have a number of Circles within Google+: Friends, Family, Acquaintances. There is also a ‘Public category’ which maps neatly onto Quadrant A of the Johari Window.

Quadrant B maps neatly to the different circles (Friends, Family etc.). This creates controlled separation, where I can isolate various topic discussions.

Quadrant C could make for a ‘fun’ social network game – tell me something about myself that I don’t know, but you do know. Play at your own risk!

Quadrant D is ripe for Reality Mining as long as there is a digital footprint.

The Johari Window provides an interesting thinking framework on which to base an approach to online privacy protection and information sharing across social groups.

Nothing to Hide: The False Tradeoff Between Privacy and Security

Extending the Johari Window for Privacy and Reputation Protection

I propose an extension to the Johari Window (as depicted in Figure 3). As information flows into a Circle we lose control of it. We must assume that we have chosen Circle members well and that each member will understand (and abide) by our privacy wishes in respect of that information. The obvious drawback however is that there is no adequate meta-data associated with the shared information to indicate to Circle members what is ‘allowable’. Perhaps Google will introduce ‘Circle Contracts’ to stipulate between parties what is acceptable!

Adding an A+ box (Figure 3) recognises that there will be information which I am happy to be disclosed by people acting as relays between Circles with no restrictions.

Box B+ recognises information disclosed to certain Circles must stay within that Circle or may be selectively disclosed to other Circles (not under my ownership) which meet certain membership/privacy criteria. There is currently however no way to express this (or manage disclosure across ‘logically chained Walled Gardens’).

Box C+ recognises that there is information about myself of which I am unaware, and would be happy about being disclosed. If it is information which may be publicly disclosed, it fits within box A. If it requires restriction per ‘Walled Garden’ or Circle, it fits within box B.

Box C++ recognises that there is information about myself of which am I unaware, and would be unhappy about being disclosed. This box is ripe for Reputation Protection.

Boxes C+ and C++ are interesting as I would be theoretically unaware of my privacy requirements until the information is disclosed (of course heuristics could be employed).

Boxes B, B+, C, C+ and C++ all have potential for information leakage. As Circles and Networks are highly interconnected, chances are the information could reach parties which you would rather not see it.

Privacy in the Modern Age : The Search for Solutions

Johari Window Extension

Extending the Johari Window and applying this thinking technique to online privacy within Social Networks is useful in terms of surfacing complexity and also challenging personal views of requirements for information management.

Extending the Johari Window

Figure 3 – Extending the Johari Window

Further Reading on Privacy Issues

By Steve Nimmons

Steve is a Certified European Engineer, Chartered Engineer, Chartered Fellow of the British Computer Society, Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology, Royal Society of Arts, Linnean Society and Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. He is an Electric Circle Patron of the Royal Institution of Great Britain, a Liveryman and Freeman of London and serves on numerous industry panels. He is a member of Chatham House, the Royal United Services Institute and the Chartered Institute of Journalists.