25 June, 2007

Social networking and the class divide

PhD student Danah Boyd from the School of Information Sciences at UC Berkeley has recently completed a study which finds that users of the two main social networking sites on the internet, Facebook and MySpace, are divided quite rigidly along class lines. From the article on the Beeb:
The research suggests those using Facebook come from wealthier homes and are more likely to attend college.
By contrast, MySpace users tend to get a job after finishing high school rather than continue their education.

Being on both MySpace and Facebook, I find Boyd's conclusions hardly surprising. Looking through my friends list on both networks, it's striking how the people on Facebook are generally more- um... bourgeoisie than the people on MySpace. There's also a larger contingent of freaks, geeks, queers, musicians, art fags, and other marginalized subgroups within MySpace. Which is a shame, because, at face value (no pun intended), and taking into consideration factors like interface design, utility of features, etc., I prefer Facebook over MySpace a million times over (the only exception I think needs to be made is the service that MySpace performs for musicians- MySpace's impact on independent music creation and distribution cannot be overemphasized).
Very interesing stuff. So much for the democratizing power of teh intarrwebz, huh?

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