My name is danah boyd and I'm a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research, a Research Assistant Professor in Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University, and a Fellow at Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet and Society. Buzzwords in my world include: privacy, context, youth culture, social media, big data. I use this blog to express random thoughts about whatever I'm thinking.

Relevant links:

Archive

viewing American class divisions through Facebook and MySpace

Over the last six months, i’ve noticed an increasing number of press articles about how high school teens are leaving MySpace for Facebook. That’s only partially true. There is indeed a change taking place, but it’s not a shift so much as a fragmentation. Until recently, American teenagers were flocking to MySpace. The picture is now being blurred. Some teens are flocking to MySpace. And some teens are flocking to Facebook. Which go where gets kinda sticky, because it seems to primarily have to do with socio-economic class.

I’ve been trying to figure out how to articulate this division for months. I have not yet succeeded. So, instead, I decided to write a blog essay addressing what I’m seeing. I suspect that this will be received with criticism, but my hope is that the readers who encounter this essay might be able to help me think through this. In other words, I want feedback on this piece.

Viewing American class divisions through Facebook and MySpace

What I lay out in this essay is rather disconcerting. Hegemonic American teens (i.e. middle/upper class, college bound teens from upwards mobile or well off families) are all on or switching to Facebook. Marginalized teens, teens from poorer or less educated backgrounds, subculturally-identified teens, and other non-hegemonic teens continue to be drawn to MySpace. A class division has emerged and it is playing out in the aesthetics, the kinds of advertising, and the policy decisions being made.

Please check out this essay and share your thoughts in the comments.

Update: I wrote a response to the critiques concerning this essay. My hope is that this will help clarify various issues people raised.

Update: I take this topic up again in Chapter 5 of my dissertation. If you are looking for data to back up this argument, check that out.

Print Friendly

365 comments to viewing American class divisions through Facebook and MySpace

  • Maria

    I just wanted to let you know that I could tell that you made up your quotations to support your arguments. In your response you write about how people took you out of context. Well, how about using a single full sentence so we get to hear some of the context of all these teens that you interviewed over a six-month study? When you say that your readers are not the audience you wrote it for, I am not sure what you could mean for that? Are you tragicly misunderstood academic?

  • Leo

    New research data regarding that relates directly to your essay.
    I don’t know how long it will be up.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/livescience/socialnetworkingsitesmayfostersameolddivisions

  • Nigel

    I found your essay interesting and, having read your response to the reaction, the whole episode fascinating and disturbing you clearly exposed a very sore spot on many people.
    You might find Amartya Sen’s approach to welfare economics useful for overcome the problems you have with discussing class. Rather than wealth or utility he takes capabilities as the basic feature to be measured. people have a collection of capabilities with which they can perform a variety of functionings. People choose a particular functioning that enables them to ‘live a life they have reason to value’. So your friend in the cafe and the janitor are at very different parts of the spectrum. Your friend could choose many different functionings some of which would earn them much more money, the janitors options are much more limited.
    For a generalist account see Development as Freedom, Oxford 2001, for a brief technical overview see Commodities and Capabilities, Oxford India paperbacks 1999.

    regards

  • Sir Dillan

    An excellent exposé, beautifully written. Stop apologizing for your perceived inability to adequately elucidate your ideas: we get your thesis, and enjoy the many questions it raises. One small point to reconsider: “Soldier” is not the best word to use, as 1) you exclude Sailors, Airmen/Airwomen, and Marines; and 2) Officers proudly consider themselves soldiers, still. Soldier is a term to identify the noble warrior, in contrast to the brute bully: he/she abides by a warrior’s code, namely that the strong shall protect the weak from harm. Instead, please consider the proper term “enlisted rank,” as that covers the non-officer contingent of the armed services. Also, I’d like it to be known that I use MySpace exclusively, even though I am a young, upwardly mobile professional, with the Canadian equivalent of an ivy-league education (even an MBA!), living in a highly desirable Ottawa neighbourhood. But keep in mind, I play lead guitar in a Christian-metal band!

  • Bellasys

    I read this article because I was comparing google search engine results when MySpace was included as a keyword. Marketing is important to me and that’s all I will say on the subject except someone thinks this article is very important to put in front of many people’s eyes, considering a #6 position based on my criteria… but I digress.

    It is fascinating the number of comments that are just asking for serious reprimand. There’s a long entry by a college student who begins to express valid arguments, then at the last second waffles the conclusion and mirrors the focus of the article precisely. (or “I just paid 40k for this years education but I still can’t think”) There’s the obviously mid-upper class person from lower-mid background who questions why anyone would want their lives exposed at all (or “I am so conditioned by the impersonality of my society, so dissociated that I can’t grasp the need to interact”). There’s the deflected reasoners, the easily impressed, the beguiled rationalists, at least one bona-fide doofus, the snelled intellectuals (I figure most of the really smart people here go fishing); there’s so much obvious _______ in most of these comments that my mind begins to ______ with _______ which is why blogs like this exist- to _______ even more social data, even if it is inferential at best.

    1. My underscores aren’t cursing. They’re Mad-libs. Remember those things we did which excited creativity and curiosity and helped us relate directly with our peers?

    2. The article deals with trending at the point of relevence, which means the current state of these two Social Networking entities. The future of either site is irrelevent as new conditions will exist, although this article will obtain historical significance in ~18 months?

    3. To expect that one’s viewpoint or argument is made valid due to the specifics of ethnicity, socio-economic class, or any other personal variance from the suggested norms might indicate a need for further educational guidance. Or were these subtle attempts to provide statistics?

    4. To question the statistical validity of a liberally treated point is acceptable in principle- whether or not an author attempts to sway opinion through careful disclaimers this is a valid criterion to argue with- however that depends on the counter-point presented; otherwise it demonstrates lack of critical thinking skills, lack of familiarity with MS & fb and/or both.

    5. I admit I only read 50% of the entire bank of comments… Yet it is rather disturbing amid all the synapses firing how many miss the point. This article serves to identify trends and elucidate their context; I don’t remember reading the author’s opinion on preference, or even an implication of preference. Is the sky blue? Yeah, or maybe I call it orange if I come from a complementary-opposite background. Perception doesn’t mean anything in itself until there is valid communication; identification and contexting are critical elements in communication.

    6. Perhaps I sound snotty, but it is rather discouraging to hear that the teens on MySpace may not know the difference between ignorance and stupidity, to hear that the teens on facebook probably do; and yet right here there are many highly educated individuals who don’t really seem stupid either, yet still can’t seem to reason for themselves, or present a valid argument. I am left thinking there must be lack of experience in this case.

    To my humanistic point: There is a need for validating interaction and positive stimuli in all humans, but this is particulary true of teens when the experience of social environments and their relative stage in development intensify key impulses in the desire and opportunity to experience _____. The blank that gets filled in will occur by the choices these teens make- not by your opinion, not by my opinion, and not by anyone’s opinion except those of the teen and the SNS’s and their advertisers. If there is any practical concern with what that is, express the concern with kids about value systems, communication, self-esteem, etc. Otherwise, respond to the significance of this article and remember that relevence helps in order to create movement and influence a discussion: this article identifies the existence of certain surrogate services occurring as teens participate in the leading SNS’s, and it offers an opinion on the trend in social context they present.

    N’est-ce pas?

  • great article. as an “original” member of facebook (my friends went to harvard and invited me along…) i agree wholeheartedly with what you’ve written. when i saw more and more schools getting added, i was initially happy, as i have friends at other schools, but then they added *gasp* state schools, and community colleges, the horror! i became a TOTAL elitist, and i went to public school, mind you ;) even now when ppl ask me about facebook, i just roll my eyes. i feel like since they’ve opened it up to everyone, it’s become less of a homey, safe-type networking system. as one of the comments stated MOST ppl on facebook use their REAL names, (ALL my friends do) and MOST ppl also use their REAL faces. facebook is just easier to translate from online to offline. myspace is like a fantasy land… My blog: wmwebtr �d�ll� seo yarışması

  • thomasee73

    The following is a thorough quantitative evaluation of the blog. There are some four and a half thousand words in the essay, and of those nearly five thousand words, the word “the” appears approximately 350 times, a frequency of 7.78%. There are references to the author (“I”, “me”, “myself”, “mine”, “my”, etc.) which occur about 130 times, almost a full 3% frequency. Though paradoxical for a thesis on on-line communities, the word “internet” appears only once and the word “blog” and “search”, never appear (though there is acknowledgement of the phenomenon in “blogosphere”). The number of paragraphs in the essay (32) is, as happens to be the case, almost the same as the number of words in the sentences “I wish I could just put numbers in front of it all and be done with it, but instead, I’m going to face the stickiness and see if I can get my thoughts across.” This is somewhat interesting, don’t you think. The coincidence is striking: why should this be the case?

    The entire essay is written in English. This is a questionable choice because it makes it particularly challenging to engage with for both the Sami peoples of Lapland as well as the older generation of Vietnamese (many of whom still speak French and have not had access to English language education). For someone allegedly concerned about the technologically supported reproduction of social division, perhaps the author could have thought a little more carefully about the choice of the English language – language being a communication technology that not only includes and builds communities, but also excludes and reinforces seperateness – in which she chooses to invite conversation. There is good reason to believe that the Nazis conducted the majority of their cultural imperialist activities in the German language – a language family to which English also belongs. The German language, which was used by the Nazi SS (Schutzstaffel), is – in a similar manner to English – also challenging to engage with for both the Sami and the older generation of Vietnamese, however – unlike English – it does support cultural identity within the Pennsylvania Dutch Amish communities. These facts are undisputed by the author, and makes it somewhat difficult to accept the arguments presented at face value, but rather invites questions about the author’s true motivations for publication. Thus there seem to be some hidden racist undertones, although the author has the canniness to never make any comments that could be explicitly identified as such, providing further evidence of her nature.

    The text is further problematic in that it appears to have been entirely based on the not only unwarranted, but also surreptitiously hidden, assumption that there exists a “real world” of social actors, independent of the observer. This assumption is not only never established by careful argument, but it is also never explicitly brought to the attention of the reader in a manner that would enable them to make up their own mind about the merits of an exposition based on this “common-sense” presupposition. This is more than merely careless, given that the author claims to have pretensions of academic ambitions, but also arguably a dishonest attempt to smuggle in particular conservative assumptions about the nature of reality, thereby automatically privileging a non-solipsistic world view and delimiting the allowable possibilities for the generation of valid knowledge.

    Therefore the reader is justifiably suspicious of the conclusions drawn, although it is also true that some of the observations have merit. The best examples are found in one of the earlier paragraphs (that is, “The goodie two shoes… by after school activities”, where all of the sentences begin with a word with the letter “T”. Tiny changes can easily be made in the construction of each sentence in the article in order to increase the proportion of such phenomena. Techniques for doing this are easily learnt and I would be more than happy to provide further advice and assistance to improve this ratio, which currently stands at about one in four, to something much closer to approaching perfection.

  • Dotti

    Class is not about income, but it is about money.

    So I’m about 6 months late to this discussion, but I want to say that I’m very glad to see you addressing socio-economic class. I think the heavy response you received is at least in part due to the fact that this extremely loaded issue is not publicly discussed – and it should be.

    I do want to offer my take on the whole “complexity of class” issue. I don’t think that class in America is all that complex. When it comes down to it, class is about money, even though it can’t be boiled down to a simple correlation with current earnings. Education is a major factor, but only because education is linked with lifetime earning potential. So I would say, more than current income, class can be related to factors such as lifetime earning potential and family/personal wealth.

    So, in reference to the example you put forth of a presumably educated English-speaking friend who is working at a cafe and an immigrant janitor, both of whom are working below the poverty line, I think that assessment of their class can be boiled down to these simple factors. If your literary friend who works at a cafe has rich parents, or is very educated and therefore has high earning potential (regardless of whether they ever actually meet that potential), I would say they are upper class. If, however, that same friend has poor parents and dropped out of high school despite being very smart, that person would probably be characterized as lower class. The same holds true for the immigrant who is working as a janitor. If the janitor comes from a poor family, with no land or assets (let’s say they grew up on a farm), and comes to the U.S. and works as a janitor, that person would probably be characterized as lower class. However, if an immigrant came from a very wealthy family, has a house in their native country, has an advanced graduate degree, but is working as a janitor for minimum wage (or more realistically, a taxicab driver) because of their language barrier or some other temporary obstacle, then they would still probably be characterized as upper class, and can be likened to the wealthy barista.

    The other factors you discuss are more cultural (e.g. aesthetic preferences), which may overlap with class, but are not identical. While I wouldn’t say that the MySpace/Facebook distributions are entirely due to class (and don’t think you would either), they do have to do with “who you know”, and the insularity of social networks appears to be one of the prime vehicles for the perpetuation of socio-economic class division in the U.S.

  • I wrote something similar, though not as eloquent, as this on my site a few days ago from the standpoint of someone on the fence between class and privilege. I, too, recognized the divide in the summer of 2005 while observing the diversity section of resident assistant training on my college campus. Now, I see things are quite different. As my peers and I take our college knowledge back to our neighborhoods and as Facebook has opened its doors to the world at large, there seem to be considerable shifts in the class divide. For one, high school students now have access to their own network on Facebook. Also, the new Facebook application platform may work as a way of introducing previously uninterested people to the world of programming and computer science. It’s quite fascinating and I’m glad to have found someone who’s been super interested in it for a while. I wish you the best of luck with the study and dealing with the media.

  • I’m curious to hear what you think about the divide 10 years from now. Personally I think that because of Facebook’s use of corporate networks, today’s college students will continue to be segregated as they connect with people at work or when away on business. The popular employer networks right now like KPMG, Morgan Stanley, GE, represent upper-class. It would seem out of place for people who work at those companies to have MySpace pages, or at least to exclusively have a MySpace page.

  • julian

    This is a really interesting paper. I’m a University of Texas student and found out about Facebook rather early on, before I had even heard of Myspace. I now have accounts with both (I joined both at the behest of friends) and have noticed pretty much exactly what you’ve said.

    I grew up in a rural poor community in Texas, where very few are college-bound. (My mother was college-educated and a school teacher, and I knew I was going to college before I even started pre-school.) The vast majority of the kids I grew up with are on Myspace and only Myspace. A few who, like me, went off to college, are on Facebook, but usually the ones who are on Facebook only use Myspace to keep in touch with friends from high school. They primarily use facebook.

    You might be interested, for further research, in how Myspace is making changes to become more like Facebook — adding photo albums and so on. It would be interesting to talk to the developers in how they view their own product, and whether they intend to make any movements toward appealing to hegemonic society.

  • Mikhayla Tkachyk

    Hi
    I’m Mikhayla Tkachyk. I’m 15yrs old and a student in grade nine. I am doing a project in my ICT class and was just wondering if you knew the percentage of teens having a MySpace/Facebook account. Please feel free to contact me at any time. the sooner, tthe better.
    Thank you so much!
    Mikhayla

  • This is very true now as out come it s not as is described now because a lot of “ofshore” public was driven from2 those services but as primary stage it indeed was targeted audience

    I would go further and reason for this should be found in facebook marketing striking strategy they knew this audience is very active and will respond and viral on their services

  • Tom

    As a non student I would like to comment on the potential, and real marketing tools this two sites offer. If the sites are used for marketing something else than yourself, then you should consider the target market you are looking for. In my case, the target is a Hispanic market and ages over forty (40). So now you see a tool that was conceived and meant to help socialize, but now people use it for something else.
    The complexity of this situation is that people use these tools in different ways. So, myself as an example, use myspace and facebook, in several ways.
    If I represent some group, it would be a marketing tool user, and not a user per se. The complexity that exists, makes it even more difficult to place users under a single category.

  • Tom

    It is very difficult to classify subject web tools. They may be used for other purposes.
    Or like me, and many more users non college student, who uses both, with several different reasons each.
    I use them as a marketing tool, for different marketing needs.
    So that makes me, a marketing tool user, and not a gender specific, social class specific person.

  • Ashley

    ok well i would like to note that wrong article is wrong….. i am not a geek freak or queer.. i would consider myself as a very happy socialized teen and i LOVE myspace thank you very much. and i no you are just writing this article on what you think is the majority…but no. You cant put people in the majority that is social discrimination. People like you just like to segregate people into classes, you make it seem like everyone that goes on myspace is some freak that wont go to college or have any luck in life. i would agree that your essay is very WRONG… so yeah you should look at some more poeple and see what happens then.

  • LOL. You guys are all very, very intellectual! Here’s your cookie :)

  • ava

    Hey the most current and hottest version of Mas Que Nada from the next advert which is sung by the white reggae singer Ava Leigh is now available on I Tunes with her new single Mad about the boy or check her out.co.uk.

  • Hi,

    Great post Danah, definitely opened up a controversial “can of worms”

    thanks.

  • i definately loved this thank you for the post it was very informative

  • sam

    I like what you’re doing with this. You have an interesting approach and an interesting topic. How is it that social networking is actually causing people to be divided. I think you should carry this into a more standard way of writing and take to a level higher beyond myspace and facebook. Good show.

  • sam

    I like what you’re doing with this. You have an interesting approach and an interesting topic. How is it that social networking is actually causing people to be divided. I think you should carry this into a more standard way of writing and take to a level higher beyond myspace and facebook. Good show.

  • My Puerto Rican wife received scholarships for college (due to her race) which I was not eligible to receive. Her family earned significantly more money than mine, but I was essentially punished (by not receiving the benefit of the scholarship) because my race was too successful.

  • “viewing American class divisions through Facebook and MySpace”. Nice post and i m must appreciate the commentators who posted as nice comments as this blog is. And i think that is the only reason to stay online and interesting to read out.

  • Louise

    Dana, thank you for putting your observations out there. What a terrific way to start a dialog. As a middle school teacher I can very readily identify with your worries about our youth, their work ethic, their connecting with others, and their fear or apathy about reaching too high.

  • Hi,

    * Very interesting conclusions. But I would like to see some data. Yes, it’s a very square desire, but one in line with all sciences, including social sciences. If this is meant to be a thought paper to solicit feedback and ideas, it’s a great start. But if it’s going to move beyond, you need to clarify where and how you’ve drawn your conclusions from. This isn’t to say you’re wrong; this is to say you need to prove WHY you’re right.

    * Can someone’s identity straddle categories, i.e. Preppy queer, lower-class kid who is eager to adopt the habits of her new ivy peers, etc.? What if you’re both a “good kid” and like weird cultural shit? It happens all the time.

    * Earlier posters keep referencing Bordieu, and in particular his “Distinction” article. A big part of that article was that lower classes can learn to mimic many aspects of upper class culture, and I’d think joining Facebook would be among the easist new habits to learn.

    * Putting both sites in historical contexts would be helpful. Kudos to the earlier poster who pointed out that Facebook used to be far more exclusionary than it is today, and is growing to be more like another MySpace. driver

  • ava leigh

    Hey the new Ava Leigh single mad about the boy is out and available to buy on I tunes and your local HMV or check out avaleigh.co.uk

  • ava leigh

    Did you know that the amazing reggae singer Ava Leighs single mad about the boy is now available on I tunes and your local H.M.V

  • tom hrabchak

    Very interesting thoughts, but this essay did not convince me to believe that classes are divided in the use of myspace and facebook.

    I think your essay could have been more influential in these areas:

    -specific examples. You talk about all the work that you have done prior to writing this essay; use it! I personally would be much more interested in what statistics you personally experienced opposed to you generalizing the data. Attention to detail!

    -the core concepts of this essay were based off of stereotypes. Stereotypes run throughout this essay so much that it somewhat ruins the point you are trying to make. Maybe a better way to go about this would be to introduce the stereotypes and discuss them, then talk about what YOU personally have found in your research.

    -the idea that there are two classes in a society is way too vague. The generalization of “Hegemonic American teens” and “Marginalized teens” equates to ‘good’ and ‘bad.’ If you want to go into the discussion of classes, there are more classes than simply upper and lower classes. What happens to the middle class teens?

    Overall it was a good idea about a potentially interesting topic. I think with specific details and examples this essay could become even more insightful.

  • NC JOLT

    Facebook has also been kicking people off of the site for essentially using the site “to much.” For more information see
    http://jolt.unc.edu/blog/2008/10/16/facebook-place-business

  • Milca

    very true.
    im hispanic and go to a primarily white school. i recently made a facebook but found that none of my friends out of school, who are hispanic have facebook. they all have a myspace though.

  • Milca

    very true.
    im hispanic and go to a primarily white school. i recently made a facebook but found that none of my friends out of school, who are hispanic have facebook. they all have a myspace though.

  • t diaz

    fascinating stuff. found your essay doing a google search after all the recent media push for facebook and receiving a link from a friend to check out her photos there. i’ve been a myspacer for a few years, turned onto it by a musician bf. i love the space. love the “aesthetics,” the ability to customize a personal page that speaks to my artsy side. it’s a creative outlet for me, and a relaxing fun thing to network with both on/offline friends. when i visited facebook, i didn’t find it very user friendly and found it too clean and clinical for my tastes. then again, i couldn’t even access my friend’s link after signing up, so i haven’t had a chance to really be able to check out any profiles.

    There seems to be a multicultural mix at myspace that i really like – celebrate even. i don’t like some of the bands that are advertised and i do like others…And i like that kind of a mix on a site. the whole homogeneous thing is soul-killing, sly, and suspect to me, but i spose for some it can serve a purpose. guess it depends what you’re on a social network for.

  • Really awesome article, dana. I’ve definitely noticed the anxieties college freshman have regarding myspace. actually, during an information session the other day, while we were discussing evaluation criteria, i asked how many students had myspace accounts. maybe 3. then i asked how many USED to have myspace accounts, and nearly all of them raised their hands. THEN, I found out they all have Facebook pages and hate myspace. Really, the pute hate they had for myspace was undeniable. i asked why they liked facebook better. The words they used to describe why?: clean, secure, professional. And the words they used to describe why they don’t like myspace?: dirty, nappy, unsecure, childish.

    WOW. We started off talking about evaluation criteria, and then we opened the conversation up to larger issues (which we don’t get to do in this class because we have to “stick to protocol.” Ug. But the students had a great time discussing issues of social identity and class. Very intriguing.

    THANKS!!

  • I just stumbled your article

    Viewing American class divisions through Facebook and MySpace

    First, you do have the language to convey your thoughts clearly, don’t be a self-doubter my friend.

    Secondly, Your perceptions of this social divide are very on point.

    I just wanted to give you some kudos on a great article.

    Cheers! (^_^)

    -Robbie

  • John

    I noticed the big change in MySpace in about mid-2007. Before that, for about two years, MySpace was really fun, and I thought it was a good influence.

    Someone shy, or who didn’t have brothers/sisters/ role models in their own school or neighborhood, could discover what life was like for someone who had their life together.

    You could be inspired by someone who had a creative page design, pictures showing them to be happy and involved, and have good friends and family, a boyfriend or girlfriend, and you could in a way become “upwardly mobile” by befriending people who were living a life better than yours, a life more like the one you want. It could actually help a younger person shape their life in a positive way.

    There were some really cool, creative people on MySpace who made a point to write inspiring things on their pages, to reach out to others, to share their personality, and to comment back to each friend and every comment. With the right friends, it was actually a nice, supportive online community. There were some role models there.

    Now after reading your essay, I see what happened. When the upperclass young people began to leave MySpace, out of predator paranoia or the move toward Facebook or whatever the reason, MySpace was left with people who weren’t as bright, weren’t as charismatic. MySpace was left with people who prefered a gaudy, somewhat showy, somewhat shady, not too substantial impression. The kindness between people tended to diminish. And the ads, the marketing, the pages themselves, got louder and more annoying. There is no upward mobility any more – there are not a lot of responsible or mature college kids on MySpace – and not a lot of role models that high schoolers can view the pages of and connect with.

    Now Facebook is great for connecting with people at your school or who you already know, or used to know. But it just isn’t the same as far as making new friends. Because you don’t get to express your personality on Facebook through your page, people don’t get to “know you” online, and often, people simply don’t add names they don’t recognize. Facebook is also just a bit more serious, its not very playful or imaginative. So its not the same kind of community… and I mourn that.

  • Lance

    Your essay was horrible. You came to conclusions without thorough investigation and you speculated 90% of the essay. You failed in your research, you did not see it important to interview your demographic to get a less inaccurate portrait of your audience, you did not search the academic Journals thoroughly that would give you more insight on the socioeconomic viewpoint. I only did two of the above in 2 hours and I could write a better essay. You must have attended one of those state-funded universities.

    From the way you wrote the essay, you would definitely fit under the “Danah Boyd Myspace” category. Way to go…

    FYI, MySpace is a trashy social network. I used both social networks for years. I gave up on MySpace because it lacks refinement and standardization. It was like putting a paintbrush and everyone’s hand and telling them to have fun. Half the profiles had so much junk that they wouldn’t load or load properly.

  • dido

    Facebook’s design is clean and uses a good deal of white space. Individual sites within it pretty much follow the same pattern, and while myspace-like functionality has been added, it still has the same clean, upper-class design. Individual pages have less design variation, and where colors are present, the colors are subtle, with a greyed blue dominating.

    Myspace’s home page, on the other hand, is cluttered and uses more bright colors. Type is placed closer together, contributing to a sense of claustrophobia. Personal pages are generally cluttered and filled with, well, whatever that person can shove on the page.

  • dido

    The entire essay is written in English. This is a questionable choice because it makes it particularly challenging to engage with for both the Sami peoples of Lapland as well as the older generation of Vietnamese (many of whom still speak French and have not had access to English language education). For someone allegedly concerned about the technologically supported reproduction of social division, perhaps the author could have thought a little more carefully about the choice of the English language – language being a communication technology that not only includes and builds communities, but also excludes and reinforces seperateness – in which she chooses to invite conversation. There is good reason to believe that the Nazis conducted the majority of their cultural imperialist activities in the German language – a language family to which English also belongs. The German language, which was used by the Nazi SS (Schutzstaffel), is – in a similar manner to English – also challenging to engage with for both the Sami and the older generation of Vietnamese, however – unlike English – it does support cultural identity within the Pennsylvania Dutch Amish communities. These facts are undisputed by the author, and makes it somewhat difficult to accept the arguments presented at face value, but rather invites questions about the author’s true motivations for publication. Thus there seem to be some hidden racist undertones, although the author has the canniness to never make any comments that could be explicitly identified as such, providing further evidence of her nature.

  • Shelli

    Is the comment from dido above mine a joke?

    I feel like it might be, but I’m not positive. I hope so.

    Anyway, I felt inclined to comment on this, since I spent at least an hour reading the essay and most of the responses to it. I also think that everyone who commented should be required to give biographical information on themselves, because I think that would be very telling, although the comments themselves say quite a lot about the writers.

    But, great essay. Very intriguing, and a wonderful attempt to bring to light topics that people don’t discuss enough. I think you make a lot of valid points, but most importantly get people thinking and talking about issues that may otherwise be ignored.

  • Facebook is one of the best way to keep in touch wid our friends..

    Thanks for sharing..

    ___________________
    Andrew
    Entertainment at one stop

  • mollykule

    Your academic side should feel very guilty about this! That was the most POINTLESS article i have ever read. If all of you commentators who thought that she made a good point in anything that she said, then you must be as intellectually “advanced” as she is. I am not going to comment much because it is not worth an intellectual comment; but i have to point out one thing: Scroll down all the way to the end of the article, to the very beginning of the second to last sentence in this article…”I do not have access to Facebook profiles”. How can you possibly make a personal observation of who and what “groups” of people, or class prefer facebook when you don’t even have access to them?? The fact that you have not been able to access facebook profiles makes your whole entire article completley VOID! Your whole arguement just goes down the drain with that statement. It’s just a long article of NOTHING, just your naive and biased opinions and nothing to support them, no evidence to back them up, nada…
    p.s. I don’t ever comment on articles, or blogs, but i was forced to read this article by my professor (i wonder why), and i greatly felt the need to inform you on how pointless this article is. I feel horrible about how negative this is, and i usually won’t even bother even bother, but someone needs to tell you the truth, because these other commentators are not!

  • thomasee73

    Shelli, FYI the comments of dido above yours are direct copies of excerpts from comments by D Mitchell and thomasee73 above. Suggests that dido is either a software agent or an extremely unimaginative plagiarist.

    And yes, when I wrote my original comment it was intended as a joke.

    Firstly to highlight some of the disadvantages of over-reliance on quantitative evidence, secondly to parody some of the criticisms in the list of comments that are completely irrelevant to subject matter of the original essay, thirdly to highlight the practical difficulties of producing work that cannot be criticised for being insufficiently “inclusive”, fourthly to parody the logic of not being able to find something as evidence of how craftily it has been hidden (compare the weapon’s of mass destruction argument), and the logic of criticism by ad hominem association (an Australian senator once caused a ruckus in parliament by pointing out that the Australian Green’s Party philosophical underpinnings shared some foundations with the philosophy of the German Nazi Party) and finally to parody some of the offers of some of the commentators above who are offering to “assist” in improvement of the essay, which was explicitly written as part of an exigetic discovery and creation process rather than a final completed paper, improvement in ways that are not needed and again irrelevant to the exploratory purpose of the original essay. And really finally, to hide some really special humour via the inclusion a little bit of self-referentiality, which is always kind of fun.

  • Maria

    Being a latina in college, I have to say that everything you said concerning the type of people that use these sites is completely true. All my friends use facebook but I use myspace. I have used facbook before but I always thought it was just a popularity contest so I quit using it.
    I have friends that use both facebook and myspace and your right: preps use facebook and the rest use myspace..
    I always noticed the difference and wow..you nailed it!! great paper!

  • BrookePurvis101-5

    boyd states that generally the members of Facebook are good kids that have strong morals and make right decisions, but she also recognizes choice kids that are on Facebook and are rebellious. She chooses not to distinguish the members that decide to be on MySpace that are technically in the hegemonic group; the teens that want to pursue a higher education but like MySpace more than Facebook because of the expressive nature the website entails. I do not agree with her statement that says a lot of MySpace users have not heard of Facebook. Most likely, if people are on one social networking website then the have probably heard of similar sites like MySpace; they just opted not to join the other networks because it did not interest them. boyd’s information could also be limited because she chose to interview her subjects. Like all research and information, there are some things left out for a reason. Some of the interviewees could have left out important facts on purpose in order to avoid punishment or disappointment. Some of the MySpace users could have said they did not want to attend college because they were afraid they would be rejected.

  • Christine 101-5

    Maybe both groups have more in common then what the research suggests. Both groups are using an online social network. Both want to stay connected and communicate with friends. Are the two classes really that different on these sites? And does it really matter? Both groups are using the sites for the same exact reason.

  • Molly101-5

    The one thing I did agree on with her was her research and questioning of the cancelation of Myspace for soldiers in Iraq. Especially when she said, “I can’t help but wonder if part of the goal is to cut off communication between current soldiers and the group that the military hopes to recruit.” I simply never thought of the cancelation in those terms but it makes complete sense to me.

  • Tricia101-5

    Most students who use Facebook do not necessarily have a negative opinion of MySpace. Being a college student I can say in personal experience I have not heard one friend bash MySpace or say he/she only uses Facebook because he/she is in college. Furthermore, many teens do not join Facebook because they are going to college and think it will help them achieve that goal. Many join it to keep in touch with friends or because it’s the “in” thing to do. A lot of teens use Facebook because it feels more secure/private and may be easier to use. I thnk that she had a lot of insight but should have been a little more specific in what she said.

  • Jenny

    She continues to stress that since technology has become such a significant aspect of daily life, it mirrors the societal values of those who use it. The argument itself is very well structured with examples, background knowledge and research, and explanation. At the conclusion of her work, boyd provides the reader with a brief paragraph regarding her research and her reasoning for the ideas introduced in her article. I think this establishes a strong connection, from the reader�s point of view, and a better understand as to why boyd classified the groups the way she chose to and how she gathered her ideas strictly on her observations. However, her observations may be a factor in her tendencies to make extremely generalized assumptions in her argument. boyd�s ideas, though strong and persuasive, force the creation of assumptions about large populations. These assumptions are supported well, however the complexity of the groups to which she is referring, make it difficult to believe such a generalized statement.

  • jenny101-5

    The author�s beliefs regarding the users of Facebook and MySpace may be disputed by some, however, regardless of the validity of her beliefs, it is understood that these class systems do exist in society today, whether or not they are clearly explain the reasoning for this division of teens. Her argument is relevant because she uses her background of studying these sites and groups of people, I think she is able to persuade the audience, however, it is difficult to see a clear distinction in her thoughts about the two groups.

Leave a Reply

 

 

 

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>