Facebook and MySpace Represent Different Not Divided

Like Robert Scoble, my own family seemed to confirm Danah Boyd's recent observations regarding Facebook and MySpace.

At a recent family get together I found myself discussing Facebook with my nephew. His sisters, who did not finish college use MySpace while he, a senior in college is on Facebook. When one of my nieces joined our conversation I noticed a certain uncomfortableness in her tone when she said to her brother, "Oh you are on Facebook." Was it the educational class division that Danah observed? Or was it just an educational difference?

Danah ended her essay with these words, "So here it is. My Space and Facebook are new respresentations of the class divide in American youth."

My two teenage sons are on Facebook and have both expressed on various occasions their observation that MySpace is a scary place, home to predators and weirdos. And their mother; who is also on Facebook.

My youngest son and his friends are using Facebook this summer as the hub of their social activities. Their social activities are mostly among the kids that they go to school with...and school as every parent who works from home knows, is out.

Facebook is a centralized site. Its organized around colleges mostly; high school kids are there but maybe mostly as it relates to college. I noticed that the high school graduating class of 2007 from my sons' high schools quickly slapped up their college graduating year on Facebook as soon as they were accepted.

And, let's face it, Facebook (and Danah definitely mentioned this) began at Harvard and expanded as a college only social network. You needed an edu account to "get in." Later, Facebook opened the doors to high school kids and then finally, last year, the door opened to all....much to the chagrin of my personal high school kids. And I really like what is happening on Facebook right now.

MySpace, on the other hand, organized around music. And music may be what Jyri Engestrom calls the object that the social network was created around but it became much greater than that.

As Pete Cashmore observed a while back, "MySpace is a centralized site  but is showing many characteristics of the decentralized web." MySpace and Facebook are really two different social network models. Pete went on to talk about specialists and  aggregators as two strong models of web2.0.

Facebook has become the quintessential social aggregator as of late, "the socially enabled aggregation platform" according to Hummingbird Mentality.
An aggregator of applications but a specialist in its focus. Its organized around colleges.

Facebook may be more elitist and MySpace may be for everyone else but I really don't see this as "new representations of the class divide in American Youth." Couldn't it be that they are just different social network models...different, not divided?

Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,


In order to comment on BlogHer.com, you'll need to be logged in. You'll be given the option to log in or create an account when you publish your comment. If you do not log in or create an account, your comment will not be displayed.