Interesting essay by Danah Boyd about how Facebook and Myspace are starting to show class divisions among teens in social networking. "Most teens who exclusively use Facebook are familiar with and have an opinion about MySpace. These teens are very aware of MySpace and they often have a negative opinion about it. They see it as gaudy, immature, and "so middle school." ... What hegemonic teens call gaudy can also be labeled as "glitzy" or "bling" or "fly" (or what my generation would call "phat") by subaltern teens. Terms like "bling" come out of hip-hop culture where showy, sparkly, brash visual displays are acceptable and valued. The look and feel of MySpace resonates far better with subaltern communities than it does with the upwardly mobile hegemonic teens." The fact that Myspace is banned in the military and Facebook isn't is also fascinating: "Soldiers are on MySpace; officers are on Facebook."

And even more fascinating, Boyd laments the fact that even when a new, "socially equal" technology comes along, we fall right back into our old ways. "It breaks my heart to watch a class divide play out in the technology. I shouldn't be surprised - when orkut grew popular in India, the caste system was formalized within the system by the users. But there's something so strange about watching a generation splice themselves in two based on class divisions or lifestyles or whatever you want to call these socio-structural divisions."

Posted on Monday, June 25th, 2007 at 1:03 pm. Filed under miniblog.
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