Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Viewing American class divisions through Facebook and MySpace

What the hell has this to do with the 50-plus – I think a lot?

Up until now social networking sites have been perceived (idiotically when you think about it) as generic. The style, content and promotion were aimed at Yoof (other than eons and the pile of eons-look imitators) but the underlying assumption was that a heterogeneous market would be happy with homogenous places to meet and socialise.

We tend to all live spaces defined by class, race, age, and education so why would we want to meet-up in a place where most people are not like us.

Danah Boyd, a PhD student in the School of Information at Berkeley, had the temerity to state the obvious. As she says in her blog: “I suspect that this will be received with criticism, but my hope is that the readers who encounter this essay might be able to help me think through this”.

This is the comment immediately following posting the item:
Wow. ::jaw on floor:: When I posted my article last night, I sent it to some friends and academic lists figuring that it would stir a conversation. I figured that some usual suspects would read it and offer valuable critiques. I was not expected Slashdot, Digg, Metafilter, del.icio.us/popular, Reddit, and other aggregators to pick it up.

Meme flow on the web intrigues me. When I post a well-thought out, well-written analysis, I get a few thousands hits and maybe a BoingBoing mention. So far, I've received 90K hits for this latest piece, the most problematic of essays I've ever shared publicly.

Well Danah Boyd, you look a pretty smart lady to me, even if you like Michael Moore's new film "Sicko."

Social networking is social networking be on line or in the pub. There are the gregarious who want to mix with all sorts but a large number (I would guess the significant majority) who want the reassurance and benefits of being with like minded people. That applies equally to age as well as class.

So what does this mean for the 50-plus? Well eons.com looks to have taken the position of the oldies’ Facebook . Who will be the oldies’ MySpace? Dick Stroud

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