Social Media

The Social Network-Divide

Those that have access to technology and those that limited—or no access to it—live across the digital-divide. But are the social media perpetuating divisions by race and class? Sure, says Danah Boyd, a social media researcher at Harvard Law School’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society.

Earlier, in May, Facebook had 70.28 million members; MySpace, 70.26 million. In terms of membership, both these social networks were very close. But they don’t tell the whole story.

The catch here is that while Facebook’s peeps had grown by 97 percent from a year ago, MySpace’s had shrunk by five percent during the same period. Some folks are migrating out of MySpace and joining Facebook. They’re mostly white, upper-class, and college-bound teenagers. This exodus is somewhat akin to the flight of the educated, white folks out of the cities to the suburbs, back in the 1970s.

In a review of Julia Angwin’s “Stealing MySpace,” Michael Agger quotes an excerpt from the book, in which the Angwin cites research by Boyd that draws a comparison between the population of Facebook and MySpace.

“[Those on Facebook] are in honors ­classes, looking forward to the prom, and live in a world dictated by after-school activities” [whereas the MySpace crowd] is “still home for Latino/Hispanic teens, immigrant teens, ‘burnouts,’ ‘alternative kids,’ . . . punks, emos, goths, gangstas, queer kids.

h/t: NYT and NYT

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