Posts Tagged ‘class’
Several pieces I read recently, as well as a conversation with a friend, have me questioning whether the crowd around social media is elitist, whether I am elitist.
The first piece that planted a seed of doubt about the universality of social media was “Understanding Users of Social Networks,” written by Sean Silverthorne in Harvard Business School Working Knowledge. Silverthorne discussed research by Harvard Business School professor Mikolaj Jan Piskorski on how men and women use social networks differently and how Twitter use is different from either Facebook or MySpace use. What really stuck with me was his analysis of the differences in the populations of Facebook and MySpace, specifically their geographic bases. Pikorski’s analysis of a dataset of 100,000 MySpace users shows that they live mostly in smaller cities and communities in the south and central parts of the country, including “Alabama, Arkansas, West Virginia, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Florida. . . not anywhere near the media hubs (except Atlanta) and far away from those elite opinion-makers in coastal urban areas.” It still boasts some 70 million members, so my conclusion is that claims that MySpace is “dead,” it seems, may be coming mostly from the media hubs where Facebook rules.
In the second piece, “a rough, unedited crib” of danah boyd‘s talk to the Personal Democracy Forum on June 30, 2009, titled “The Not-So-Hidden Politics of Class Online,” Boyd asks her audience to do her a favor during her presentation: “I want you to step away from the techno-hyperbole for just a moment and think about issues of inequality and social stratification with me. I want you to think about the ways in which technology is not equally available or equally transformative.”