Are You on Facebook or MySpace?
Danah Boyd, a PhD candidate at the School of Information at University of California – Berkeley, recently wrote a short essay on the apparent social class division between MySpace users and Facebook users on her blog.
In her essay, she begins with a quick distinction between the users of each social network:
The goodie two shoes, jocks, athletes, or other “good” kids are now going to Facebook. These kids tend to come from families who emphasize education and going to college. They are part of what we’d call hegemonic society. They are primarily white, but not exclusively. They are in honors classes, looking forward to the prom, and live in a world dictated by after school activities.
MySpace is still home for Latino/Hispanic teens, immigrant teens, “burnouts,” “alternative kids,” “art fags,” punks, emos, goths, gangstas, queer kids, and other kids who didn’t play into the dominant high school popularity paradigm. These are kids whose parents didn’t go to college, who are expected to get a job when they finish high school. These are the teens who plan to go into the military immediately after schools. Teens who are really into music or in a band are also on MySpace. MySpace has most of the kids who are socially ostracized at school because they are geeks, freaks, or queers.
When Facebook first came online, it was limited to Ivy-League students. Soon, however, more colleges were added, yet a college-style .edu email address was absolutely required. (Though this restriction has recently been lifted)
MySpace, on the other hand, started off primarily with bands and artists seeking their own “web space”. Teenage concert goers flocked to MySpace to view their favorite bands’ profiles and to create their own accounts. No college education required. Absolutely none.
With neither social network now requiring a college education, is the class division Boyd sees still in place? Is the strict Facebook layout more appealing to the upper-class student, with the flexible MySpace layout more eye catching to the lower-class student? And what does that say about you if you’re on both social networks? Or neither?
Let us know in the comments: Which social network do you ascribe to?