Viewing American class divisions through Facebook and MySpace

The division is cleanest in communities where the predator panic hit before MySpace became popular. In much of the midwest, teens heard about Facebook and MySpace at the same time. They were told that MySpace was bad while Facebook was key for college students seeking to make friends at college. I go into schools where the school is split between the Facebook users and the MySpace users. On the coasts and in big cities, things are more murky than elsewhere. MySpace became popular through the bands and fans dynamic before the predator panic kicked in. Its popularity on the coasts and in the cities predated Facebook’s launch in high schools. Many hegemonic teens are still using MySpace because of their connections to participants who joined in the early days, yet they too are switching and tend to maintain accounts on both. For the hegemonic teens in the midwest, there wasn’t a MySpace to switch from so the “switch” is happening much faster. None of the teens are really switching from Facebook to MySpace, although there are some hegemonic teens who choose to check out MySpace to see what happens there even though their friends are mostly on Facebook. —danah boydViewing American class divisions through Facebook and MySpace (danah.org)

I personally find boyd’s use of a lowercase logo for a name to be be right up there with Prince’s use of an unpronounceable symbol and the star in “Wal*Mart,” but I gather it makes her seem more approachable to the young people whose online habits she observes so carefully (and analyzes so well).