Earlier research showed that the social networking choice between Facebook, MySpace and Xanga was based on the users’ race, ethnicity, and education, with Latino students trending toward MySpace, white students trending toward Facebook, and Asian and Asian-American students trending towards Xanga. Interestingly, there were no discernable social networking trends for black students.
In the meantime, Danah Boyd discovered that white teenagers believe some social networking sites like MySpace are “ghetto” (their words), while others are “more cultured” (again, their words), which dictated why one SNS gets used more often than the next. Boyd explains,
It wasn’t just anyone who left MySpace to go to Facebook. In fact, if we want to get to the crux of what unfolded, we might as well face an uncomfortable reality… What happened was modern day “white flight.” Whites were more likely to leave or choose Facebook. The educated were more likely to leave or choose Facebook. Those from wealthier backgrounds were more likely to leave or choose Facebook. Those from the suburbs were more likely to leave or choose Facebook. Those who deserted MySpace did so by “choice” but their decision to do so was wrapped up in their connections to others, in their belief that a more peaceful, quiet, less-public space would be more idyllic.
Now a new consumer behavior analysis firm has completed additional research confirming that digital migration is taking place on SNS primarily along class lines.
Call me naive, but I always assumed the rise of Facebook usage, at least among my friends, had more to do with usability than any other function. MySpace was created as a band promotion site, not for individuals, whereas Facebook was created for individuals to connect. And to date, MySpace seems more design and tech clunky than Facebook does — that is, if I ignore all your invitations asking me to join your farm/restaurant/mafia ring. Nevertheless, the evidence appears to be stacking up in a way that reveals a new kind of digital divide, one in which social groups are choosing not to connect with or communicate with one another.
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