Social networking snobbery

The authors of a recent study think that MySpace is for the lower orders of society, while Facebook is for the better off.

Clearly, they are wrong. And not just because they’re busy with the traditional activity so beloved of researchers: putting class boundaries onto data given the slightest excuse.

No, they’re wrong because they’re drawing a conclusion based on data that is far too fluid, and on two sites that are very different.

From the BBC article:

The research suggests those using Facebook come from wealthier homes and are more likely to attend college.

By contrast, MySpace users tend to get a job after finishing high school rather than continue their education.

Shock and horror. The college kids choose to use a network that was initially designed specifically for college kids over the general one. Hell, the rest of the world couldn’t use Facebook a year ago. From that base, is it surprising that more college kids use it than use MySpace?

Then you get to the security aspects: Facebook profiles can only be viewed by

  1. people you specifically let view it; or
  2. people in the same network, geographically, or by employer or educational establishment

Whereas MySpace defaults to being largely open to all, which isn’t ideal for most people.

So of course Facebook is ahead with the school kids; because it’s newer, it’s designed for them, and its data gives the impression of being more secure.

This is not a sign of a class divide, it’s a sign that people’s tastes are changing and that products are emerging to meet the new tastes. It’s just that the kids are picking up on the change slightly faster. As the next class will with the next development, and so on and so forth.

Oh, and MySpace is fugly as hell. Too cluttered and too laden with sound and video by default. At least with Facebook you choose to be bothered by such things…

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