Monday, June 25, 2007

Myspace v. Facebook? Social sites reveal class divide in America

Finally, something interesting to blog about: The BBC reports on a 6 months research project from Danah Boyd (I used some of her work for my own MBA research project and I value her insight). Her paper: Viewing American class divisions through Facebook and Myspace concludes that Facebook users come from wealthier backgrounds are are more likely to attend college - which makes sense since Facebook was initially restricted to those with a college/uni email address. Myspace users are more likely to be "non-hegemonic" teens. Now if we were to throw A Small World into the mix...

2 comments:

Farhan Lalji said...

From Valleywag:
"Excuse me if I don't genuflect before the new "study" on class differences among the audiences of the different social network, which is getting picked up widely. Danah Boyd's research project, which purports to show that Myspace devotees are poorer and less well educated than users of Facebook, is superficially interesting. The conclusions coincide, satisfyingly, with the presumptions of Facebook users with snobbish disdain for the ghetto design of Myspace pages. They're probably true. And Boyd's essay has the patina of academic credibility, obtained through the liberal use of lingo from critical theory such as "hegemonic" -- by which I think the author means the cool kids. But, astonishingly, there's a complete lack of survey data to support the thesis. If this Berkeley PhD candidate really had six months for the project, how hard would it be to recruit a few hundred survey respondents? And some of the conclusions are truly pedestrian: the research suggests that Facebook users are more likely to go to college. Well, Mark Zuckerberg's social utility started -- duh -- as an online facebook for college students, so it's hardly so surprising that it would do well among that demo"
Interesting yes, insightful... not so sure.

Dave said...

I agree completely with Fahran. There's really nothing exceptional about her research here. Her assumptions are correct, but I was hoping for some hard data...something similar to PEW and USC's Digital Future Report. I just finished my undergraduate degree at Georgetown and utilized these two wonderful sources in my thesis: http://www.scribd.com/doc/100515/Virtual-Interactive-Communication-A-Bicultural-Survey-Through-the-Lens-of-Web-20