In recent years networking sites like MySpace and Facebook have seen remarkable growth and become some of the most heavily trafficked destinations on the internet. But Danah Boyd, a researcher at the University of California and internet sociologist, says populations of different networks are now divided on a rough class basis.
Her evidence, collected through a series of interviews with US teenagers using MySpace and Facebook over the past nine months, shows there is a clear gap between the populations of each site.
“MySpace was the cool thing for high school teens and Facebook was the cool thing for college students,” she wrote in a paper available online. “The picture is now being blurred … it seems to primarily have to do with socio-economic class.”Typical Facebook users, she said, “tend to come from families who emphasise education and going to college. They are primarily white, but not exclusively”. MySpace, on the other hand, “is still home for Latino and Hispanic teens, immigrant teens” as well as “other kids who didn’t play into the dominant high school popularity paradigm”.
“A month ago, the military banned MySpace but not Facebook. This was a very interesting move because there’s a division, even in the military. Soldiers are on MySpace; officers are on Facebook.”
According to Ms Boyd, Facebook is not used by young soldiers, who are generally less well-educated and from poorer backgrounds, and there is an element of social conflict in the ban.
So, MySpace is Facebook for the uneducated?