Saturday, September 26, 2009

Digital inequality.

There is an excellent article about Facebook and Myspace--two social networking tools that compete for use. Before Facebook, almost everyone used Myspace (with a fringe population using Bebo and others). However, when Facebook was invented, many members left Myspace--an occurrence that has been examined and deemed a digital form of "white flight" by many. Facebook, a site originally intended exclusively for those in college, attracted middle and upper class students and further separated the lower class from the rest of society. Formerly thought to be the great equalizer, it is now becoming clear that the internet is anything but.

For the full article from Cause Global (a blog dedicated to using social media to engender social change), please click here.


  1. One interesting difference between FB and MySpace is related to the nature of the profiles. Facebook seems to want people to use their real names, while MySpace seems more consistent with the notion of asserting a persona. Also, myspace is more public and open, and is a good venue for announcing oneself to the world (hence the appeal of MySpace to bands and others seeking to self promote. So, in addition to what might be SES causes, it seems like there might also be age specific differences in the the appeal of the system for the different goals of users.

  2. That is definitely true, and there is also the fact that Myspace seems a lot more honest about privacy issues...I had no idea the entire world could see my full Facebook profile until last week! However, on Myspace, you can easily switch your entire profile to private. Additionally, Myspace added the "full name" feature a few months ago, where you could decide whether to let people search for you by your real name or not. And, there's also the feature you can enable where people who want to friend you must enter your last name--so Myspace sort of pre-screens for you. Still, Facebook reigns supreme as far as the real name thing goes. =)

  3. I'm really interested in what comes next here - will there be a similar flight from facebook when the "next big social networking site" comes along?

  4. There are so many niches to these sites, it seems like facebook is progressing with a plethora of apps and becoming overpopulated.

    Myspace, although has slowed down, it has definately held its own in relation to what Ted said, how it is good for promoting oneself.

    The question remains...How far will this go? Will they continue to progress? Will another niche take over?

  5. Elyse, I found this post extremely helpful. I used it for my project, then looked at danah boyd's initial research which had some interesting data.

    In my own Facebook and MySpace observations, I've found that adults too have this divide. For example, adults who didn't attend college or still live at home after high school are more likely to stick with MySpace, whereas university students and students or perceived wealthier socioeconomic statuses are more likely to abandon MySpace and get with the 'book.