Monday, June 25, 2007

Social sites reveal class divide

Teenagers, BBC/Corbis
Teenage users of social sites have very different aspirations

Fans of MySpace and Facebook are divided by much more than which music they like, suggests a study

he conclusions are based on interviews with many
teenage users of the social networking sites by PhD student Danah Boyd
from the School of Information Sciences at UC Berkeley.

In a preliminary draft of the research, Ms Boyd said
defining "class" in the US was difficult because, unlike many other
nations, it did not map directly to income.

Instead, she said, class in the US was more about social
life and networks - how people define themselves and who they define
themselves with.

"Social networks are strongly connected to geography,
race, and religion; these are also huge factors in lifestyle divisions
and thus 'class'," she wrote.

Broadly, Ms Boyd found Facebook users tend to be white
and come from families who are keen for children to get the most out of
school and go on to college.

This division is just another way in which technology is mirroring societal values

Danah Boyd

Characterising Facebook users she said: "They are in honors classes,
looking forward to the prom, and live in a world dictated by after
school activities."

By contrast, the average MySpace teenager tends to come from families where parents did not go to college, she said.

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