Thursday, April 14, 2011

Facebook or Myspace, which is better?

I'll be completly honest with you, probably the only reason I got a Facebook was because a girl I wanted to get to know more didn't have a Myspace. At the time Myspace was easier to use and more customizable, which I believe it still is. Both Facebook and Myspace have their pros and cons. For one of my friends who is trying to make it into the music world, his Myspace allows him to do that more neatly then Facebook. Facebook is much more for professionals in my opinion, it's not customizable, no fun colors, no music when you click on profiles, just blah!

I have both a Facebook and Myspace and the only one I actually sign into is Facebook because that's where I have more of the my friends. The thing that I don't like about these social media sites is that people will either ask you or accept you as a friend but if you try to go and talk to them at school, their like "Ugh, who are you?" All they cared about was how many friends they had. For them it's a competition. I got so fed up with all the drama that one day I just deleted almost everyone. I went from 600 friends to 250, I think it what I have now!

As far as race and classes on the social networks, it's not going to be any different on there as it is out here. If you like or don't like a certain race your not going to on the internet. For classes the thing about Facebook being for higher up classes is not true. I live in Redford and their is nothing High Class here! It's either low or middle class and we all use Facebook! SO where are the rich going to run to know on cyberspace!?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


“All this said, people are already divided and we accept that people from different backgrounds inhabit different environments. We cannot expect technology to automatically integrate people and generate cultural harmony. Although most of you call these sites "social networking sites," there's almost no networking going on. People use these sites to connect to the people they know. In other words, even if they could talk across the divide, they might not anyhow. And even when people talk across differences, it doesn't automatically solve underlying tensions. Racial integration of schools was valuable for many reasons, but it didn't solve racism in this country.”

I disagree with this whole paragraph. I felt that this did not grasp the notion of social media/networking thoroughly, instead a bit more biasly and/or in a negative light. My question is: is there really a divide on social networking websites and/or the web?

Yes, it is true that “People use these sites to connect to the people they know” but it is not the only truth. Social networking sites are definitely used to ‘network’, get connections. When social networking is utilized and understood thoroughly, the results can be quite beneficial. This website summarizes it up pretty clearly. <--

“Thanks to social networking sites, meeting someone in person has become a thing of the past. "Poking" has become the new handshake. Making friends and renewing old ones is easy. Thus, meeting people and staying connected with classmates and friends is a major benefit of social networking sites.”

I don’t see how a divide is visible within these facts. Social networking makes the world a much smaller place. You can build and re-build your profile and reputation. You can join various networks and pages and follow your favorite website/celebrity/politician/etc. on twitter with no restraints. Within these social networks- Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, you can discover mutual friends, then expand from there. I am not the one to add random friends on Facebook, however I have added mutual friends, who I barely knew, through my friends due to certain connections they may have. For example, a company they work for that may be of assistance to me at some point. Also some people find their significant others online, there is no divide when finding a person you’re attracted to – real life or online. Another example is this blog for instance. When we go to comment on each other’s blogs, we aren’t really looking at who’s writing the, we are simply commenting on them. (Well, in my case anyhow.) I am not looking for who’s black and who’s white, I’m just looking for a blog to read to comment on.

Online, it is like we are one race, in one world – the cyber world. Essentially there are no limits. I can do anything you can do, and vice versa. Online media/social networking allows us to come together in one pool. As we discussed in this course, there are plenty many issues online, but nonetheless the benefits tend to outweigh, and we overlook the issues. Ignorant people in real life, may be ignorant on the web also, but just like in real life, we’d probably avoid them. However online people who want to speak up but are not willing enough, can dare to question and comment without being afraid. There is no big divide. There is only the WORLD WIDE WEB. It is not the “only Asian web” or the “only black web”. It is the World Wide Web, where we can all come together and not worry about ‘divides’, rather embrace new technologies and innovations that may connect us to old and new friends and great networks.

Music vs Words

     The point that stood out most to me was in article by Danah Boyd titled "The Not-So-Hidden Politics of Class Online." Boyd examined the differences in who uses which social network, and drew comparisons between their choice and their class.

     Boyd looks at both race and economic status when making her point. The section that popped out at me was quite small, but it really got me thinking about myself and why I chose to 'make the switch.'
Craig (17, California): The higher castes of high school moved to Facebook. It was more cultured, and less cheesy. The lower class usually were content to stick to MySpace. Any high school student who has a Facebook will tell you that MySpace users are more likely to be barely educated and obnoxious. Like Peet’s is more cultured than Starbucks, and Jazz is more cultured than bubblegum pop, and like Macs are more cultured than PC’s, Facebook is of a cooler caliber than MySpace.
      The series of quotes from high schoolers is what made me think. Why did I leave Facebook? And in a way, Craig summed it up for me. Between his thoughts and the thoughts of Melanie, who is quoted just below Craig in the original article, I figure out why I did it. I wanted to get away from what seemed like the "lower class." Facebook was the hot new thing, and it offered this clean slate, something that is the same for everyone, and it is "more like adultness." I was making the transition from high school to college, from this giant pool of people into this more cultured, sophisticated world, and moving to Facebook seemed like the right change to make.
     More than anything, education and a sense of sophistication seem to be the deciding factors in who's on Facebook and who's on MySpace. Those who remain on MySpace seem content with what was, and they're not looking for the next best thing. And that could be because they're satisfied with where they are in life. It's a stretch, but after reading this article and seeing what some of these younger kids think, it makes you stop and really question it.
     It seemed like the 'big switch' happened when transitioning from high school to college. So I wonder if transitioning from college into the 'real world' will induce another change (possibly to LinkedIn) or the dropping of social networks all together? In the very least, leaving college will change the way we use Facebook.

Classism and Racism Are Issues Beyond the Net

I had been more aware on the Digital Divide among nations, at the macro level, not so much domestically. I guess I'm a globalist in the sense of social issues. Yet, it is a reality like in any other public sphere. Reading the expressions of the youth class and racial divisions between MySpace and Facebook confirmed my observations about both social networs' environments. That there are "certain people" who use each service. I had a Facebook before I had a MySpace, and preferred it over the other because I could find my college classmates. In this sense, I was influenced by social status, not class. I also disliked MySpace's layout. Too flashy. However, I never rejected because "ghetto" people hung out at MySpace. Though, some may define flashy as "ghetto", and may perceive my rejection of MySpace as a reaction to that. However, I've been taught to be a person of consciousness or as some call it "political correctedness". I just simply liked to have a simple layout and wanted to find like-minded college students.

Boyd argues that the public spaces in social networking sites are stratified so people can find people like them in every sense of the word. This has been my experience. Ever since I became internet savvy (around 10 years ago) I tried to connect with people from my home country. I felt a craving for this "togetherness" that we could share as a group. Then, I became progressively narrower on my search for a net belonging. Thus, my new quest became to find people from back home who share other things with me, such as political views. I then began expanding my social networks to include people who shared my political activism across religion, race (I use this nonsense word for the sake of semantics), class, nationality, and ethnicity. Within that narrow niche I became motivated to reach out to others that I normally wouldn't had I not been a little picky at first.

The articles made me pond on the idea that these narrow niches can help people to expand their horizons, and challenge the socially and racially stratified structure. When we find ourselves among people who are too much like us we begin to feel an itch to go outside the box. In my experience, I got tired of all "kinds" of Puerto Ricans, so I wanted to find "specific ones". However, it became very boring, and I noticed that it paused my progress as a thinker and activist because I had other interests outside this very narrow niche. I, thus, began to open myself up to "Other" people. Watkins has noted that Latinos and Blacks had been progressively migrating from MySpace to Facebook. This could be due to a number of issues. I would argue that one reason could be that they become bored of the same, and want to explore a new venue like in my case. By migrating from the "ghetto" (MySpace), these Latinos and Blacks are exposed to diversity, and may open up their horizons. An opportunity not afforded by the outside public space which is less intimate.

Nonetheless, racial and ethnic segregation wouldn't be automatically stopped by the wide range interactions of the new digital world. As Boyd noted on her ethnography, interest or ethnic groups tend to band together wherever their crowds move. Thus, to bring integration across race, class, and ethnicity there needs to be a value system to promote that. Most privileged people grow up with values that tell them to not be like the "Other". It is part of their belief system that keeps them in their privileged positions. On the other hand, the "Others" also grow up with a value system driven by beliefs about the privileged as well. Thus, it is a social contestation that needs repairing beyond the internet. Though, the internet certainly helps to engage both parties within public places, we have seen Latinos and Blacks have their own public spaces (MySpace), as well as their own way of accessing these pubic places (mobile connection). Moreover, the internet has also been a public space to promote racism. An example was the UCLA's student's rant against Asians. The net was used as a tool for racism, not for eliminating it. Engaging people to learn about the "Other", to interact with the "Other", and to accept the "Other" will take us a step further in trying to eradicate social and ethnic stratification; and, the internet can play a large role in this but it won't be the cause of it. Racism and classism go beyond that. Thus, I sadly say that for the foreseeable future classism and racism will be part of our online lives. More so now with the increasing socio economic crisis that is increasing class conflict (which is also overwhelmingly about race).

Why Do Men and Women Differ on Social Networking Sites?

Based on the readings, there are significant gender differences in the way men and women use social networking sites (namely, Facebook). According to Watkins and Lee, those discrepancies include women being more likely to post comments, "like" things, engage in personal conversation, and post photos. On the other side, men are more likely to post links to current events, and news related topics, and post videos to their wall (Watkins/Lee p11). Why do these differences exist?

There are a variety of reasons for this, the most significant being the way men and women are socialized. Women are brought up to value friendships and social interaction. This likely accounts for the increased number of photos posted and engaging in personal conversation on Facebook. Conversely, men are brought up to be opinionated and more individualistic. This explains the fact that men are more likely to post their views and links supporting them as opposed to commenting on other people's walls.

The difference in socialization also accounts for the fact that women are more likely than men to keep up with long distance friends. According to the study, 55% of females find it very important to communicate with friends who live in a different state or country while only 34.7% of men believe the same thing (Watkins/Lee p14). In the 20 or so psychology classes I've taken, it has become very clear that women are brought up to be more family oriented as well, and are more likely to be caretakers for elderly family later in life. Again, the familial socialization of women comes into play when it comes to the importance of communicating with family. 40.3% of women find it very important to chat with kin on Facebook whereas only 26.4% of men feel the same.

Though socialization is not the only reason for differences, I believe it is the strongest motivator for the discrepancies.

Translation into Technology

Is the social divide that happens in day-to-day life that much different when a computer is involved? I'd have to say no. The things that divide social classes, whether they are adults or teenagers, are still the things that will divide them online. Factors such as social class-standing, zero exposure to individuals unlike one's self, even narrow minded thinking may play a part of why people only interact with certain types of people. I don't believe adding a social networking site into the mix changes that. In my opinion, that is like saying that peole who own telephones will talk and interact with people they do not know. Which isn't the case at all. People who have the means to interact with individuals they are unfamiliar with typically still choose to talk and interact with people they know. As Danna Boyd stated"We cannot expect technology to automatically integrate people and generate cultural harmony."

If websites were people

Take a look at the above artist's rendition of what various popular websites would look like as people (larger view and source here). There are undeniable demographic trends among social networking sites, but furthermore, this picture shows how we can anthropomorphize something as inhuman as a website. Of course, this is just one artist's (conspicuously white) conception, but it's an interesting window to the way websites become lifelike and entirely separate entities in our minds. Now check out this discussion about the image. Some of the comments could fit right into Danah Boyd's research:

"And myspace should be some ghetto hoodrat that thinks he can rap but sucks or a grungie 35 year old guitar player living with his parents, still waiting to 'make it big.'" --superbreakfasttime

So something as faceless as a social networking site can definitely take on an aggregate personality, relative to who's viewing it. I wonder, though, how much of an effect does this really have? I think Boyd exaggerates when she calls the Facebook to Myspace user base transition as "modern day 'white flight.'" I believe many of the reasons for the collapse of Myspace boil down to its many interface and usability issues. Facebook was simply superior, and people flocked to it. People also go where their friends are, so in a sense, Boyd is right that these things are based on trends. Homophily has inertia. But the internet still has a social flattening effect. We all have a sense of the racial demographics in our areas -- it's essentially unavoidable. On the internet, though, it's difficult to get a sense of your true "surroundings." Because of that, I think something like white flight is far less likely to occur. Online social networks, being physically disconnected, can be highly modular within the same site as well.

Still, the web has many divisions. Boyd asks an excellent question: "So as we think about creating public spaces, what's the meeting point for our conversations? Is it MySpace or Facebook? Twitter or IRC?" I agree with her that "What you choose matters," but that doesn't answer the question. One feature of many social networking sites is that they are tightly coupled. When you add friends on Facebook, you become part of a concrete network. The network is visible to everyone in it, and communication is internally very open. Sites like Twitter, on the other hand, are loosely coupled. Users don't see each others' data streams, as with Facebook walls, and being "friends" isn't a mutual handshake. Retweeting can expand the data you see on Twitter beyond just the people you choose to follow. Tweets are also much more easily captured and shared than Facebook wall posts. I'd venture to say that Twitter is much more data-focused, while Facebook is more focused on the social aspect. My question is, which format is better for meaningful discussion about serious topics like racism or politics? Despite Twitter's character limit, I think it's better-suited because of the lack of social context. It's purely an exchange of ideas. On Facebook, a comment is an event. These are two very specific examples of different networking paradigms that are likely to evolve quite a bit in the future. Perhaps the best solution for facilitating equalized dialectic on the internet will be entirely different from both. I'm not entirely sure. Regardless, we must remember not to ". . . interpret an advancement as a solution," as Boyd says.

"Fleeing" MySpace In Favor Of Facebook?

According to Danah Boyd in "The Not-So-Hidden Politics of Class Online", white people left MySpace for Facebook to escape minorities and the poor. Danah says that, "What happened was modern day white flight." While it may be true that many white people and better educated people left MySpace, I think this article is making the mistake of assuming correlation implies causation; I just don't see this being the reason why people left MySpace.

First of all, MySpace was already starting to run its course. MySpace was a good first draft of what a social networking site could be, but it's sloppy. I can't handle looking at MySpace pages in comparison to Facebook pages... MySpace allows too much customization, to be honest. Too many people don't understand how to design a webpage that is pleasing to the eye and easy to navigate; good website design is a coveted skill and not one that everybody naturally possesses, as shown by the many ugly, hard to read, impossible to navigate MySpace pages. Also, Facebook does a much better job of organizing in general. By taking away some of the user's customization features, Facebook is able to actually present a much more pleasant, professional experience.

Danah also specifically emphasizes that better educated people transferred to Facebook. Perhaps this has something to do with an understanding of privacy on the internet. MySpace is known to be less secure and private than Facebook, even encouraging its users to browse random other users' pages. It seems possible to me that better educated people started to realize the dangers of sharing their personal information with everybody else on the internet and opted out for a more private service in Facebook.

Also, fads (MySpace in this case) don't get "old" if you never experience them in the first place. According to Craig Watkins article "Understanding the Mobile Lives of Black and Latino Youth", less black and Latino people have broadband than White people. He also implies that these and other minorities have been slower in getting on board with broadband in general. If these minorities hadn't been using MySpace for as long as white people had because they started later, maybe they hadn't gotten tired of it yet?

I see what Danah is trying to say in the article, but she seems to be jumping to a lot of conclusions when there are so many other possibilities. Maybe for some people, the composition of MySpace users did in fact play a roll in their transition to Facebook. However, there are simply too many other possibilities to make the claim that it is almost the same thing as "white flight."

Social Justice Through Technology

The question this week’s readings raised in my mind was how social inequality is reduced by social media and technology, rather than made more visible.  In my experiences with social media, it seems to break down social divisions.  More people are communicating with each other than ever before and this number will continue to rise.  Given this rising rate of communication, it would be logical to say more communication will promote learning of new cultures and lead to new acceptance and respect of other’s views.  This communication would not be possible without technology.

In my opinion, having the ability to communicate with anyone else around the world without a doubt reduces social divisions and inequality.  Without technology, the Internet, and social media, many social boundaries would still exist today.  By sharing your thoughts with others, people can quickly learn new perspectives, ideas, and ways of life which can aid in the removal of social inequality.


The Digital Divide isn't all that Bad

Danah Boyd raised some interesting points about the class segregation that goes on in cyberspace. Her point about Facebook initially being just for privileged white kids was fairly accurate. In early 2007, I worked at a restaurant in downtown Ann Arbor. I remember the restaurant hosts were all University of Michigan students and one night a couple of them were complaining about the "riff-raff" coming onto Facebook. This elitist attitude about Facebook was definitely out there, but has gone away over the past few years.

A girl I know from middle school, that moved down south, just recently joined Facebook. Her family had a low income and they could easily be grouped in with the "Nascar" stereotype. Occasionally I would log into MySpace to see what was new with her. Most of the time the content posted would be considered of "low cultural" value and this plays into the point Boyd made about the low income divide.

"...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."

With that said, I think it's ridiculous to get angry at privileged white kids for wanting to separate themselves from the crowd of the uneducated. With sites like Linked In and The Ladders (Six-figure income members only allowed), it is clear that there is a demand for further cultural segregation online. Is this really a shocker or such a bad thing?

The basic premise that the internet should defy offline society's cultural issues is absurd. It is great to see the internet uniting so many, but there will always be some level of segregation present. Boyd is clearly overly liberal on these issues.

"We desperately need to address issues of access and media literacy to combat this, but we also need to re-engage around broader issues of inequality, intolerance, and social divisions."

So let me get this straight, you think that because a FREE website has attracted certain groups of people before others that we need to fix this? Do we need to put broadband internet in every low income home and give computers to those households as well? So because low income families often experience unemployment we need to pay for them to be able to access the internet to play Farmville on Facebook?

This is a prime example of being overly politically correct in the way our society as a whole interacts. The elite can't stand the under-educated, while the working class can't stand the snobbery of the wealthy. Trying to balance the two polar forces is extremely difficult.

Homophily: Real World and Online

Based on my own experiences of growing up as a minority, all of these articles were just a recall of my past.  I can agree that access to the internet does not mean there is equality in its use.  In Understanding Mobile Lives..., Watkins says "A 2009 report by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) titled, “Digital Nation: 21st Century America’s Progress Toward Universal Broadband Internet Access,” found that broadband households tend to be younger, white or Asian, highly-educated, married, and with higher incomes."  I understand this because growing up not many of my friends had internet. 

While I was busy meeting white kids online, it was rare to chat with other black kids.  It wasn't until high school when more of my peers had broadband internet.  Before, they would use school to access internet since it wasn't seen as a necessity in their homes("The primary reasons are “don’t need/not interested” and “too expensive.” In all likelihood black and Latino kids live in homes that can not afford the internet versus homes that are simply not interested." -Watkins). 

I've even noticed many black people I've friended on Facebook have Metro PCS (the company logo shows up when they upload pics) since social networking is so important to our society.  It's clearly better to be late in the game and have a pre-paid package like Metro PCS than to be left out in the world.

I also agreed with danah boyd's homophily theory.  In my experience, sites fade like any fashion.  I'd been using Tumblr forever.  However it seemed like in a certain week, my sister, cousin, and their friends all jumped on.  One of the teens boyd interviewed mentioned preferring Facebook over Myspace because the Top 8 creates a divide.  Someone created an application on Facebook for top friends, but it slowly faded away.

My concern is that the divide will only get worse.  Nothing will bring all people together unless we force ourselves to do it, and in person.  Not even technology can help this one.  Even in our class, this connection falls flat.  We all have things in common.  We're UM-D students, and we're all in JASS 403.  We tweet for class, but how many of us really connect with one another?  There is still a divide because we only network with those we know or need to know who have multiple similarities to us.

Web Culture: How Social Networking Sites Illustrate Social Issues

Internet doesn't always me Interconnected
Throughout our history, there has always been social issues revolving around race and ethnicity.  Up until the middle part of the last century, our country, usually considered one of the most modern and affluent nations in the world, recognized and enforced legal racial discrimination and segregation.  That's all changed now right?  After all, the Civil Rights Act officially ended intentional legal discrimination based on race and our nation has become a much better place because of it.  But does unintentional racial segregation still exist within our society today, just in a different form?  Most of us would probably think that racial segregation is a thing of the distant past.  It's easy to think that, because of today's modern and globally connected world where everyone can interact with anyone, in any country simply by typing in a few keystrokes or "friending" people on popular social networking sites, people have moved past  trivial differences like skin color.  This may be true for the most part yet there is some evidence that we are still, however unintentionally, segregating ourselves in the digital world as we once did so frequently in the real world. 

It is clear that in today's society, people are usually "plugged in" in some way or another, for most of the day.  Much of our communication between friends, relatives, classmates, co-workers etc, occurs via the Internet and most likely through one of the popular social networking sites such as Twitter or Facebook, most notably.  Social networking sites were designed to create interactions among many different kinds of people of all races, ethnicity's, and nationalities.  But how well are they succeeding in this?  Craig Watkins mentions in Got Facebook? A New Study Examines the World's Biggest Social Network, that "a few years ago, there was  a general belief that Facebook was principally a platform used by whites."  Indeed his study Investigating What's Social About Social Media, notes that 69% of Facebook users were white, followed by 12.9% and 6.9% African American and Latino/Hispanic respectively.  Clearly the racial representation is a bit skewed in one direction. So do all members of these sites network equally?  Danah Boyd doesn't seem to think so and in fact goes on to note that social networking sites might not be living up to their name.

In The Not So Hidden Politics of Class Online, Boyd asks us to think critically of so called social networking sites.  She mentions that "there's almost no networking going on. People use these sites to connect to people they already know."  This includes people of their own racial group.  This unintentional racial segregation of social networking sites is likely a manifestation of underlying real world social issues regarding race that are still prevalent today, albeit much less so than in our history.  Although we would all like to think that technology has connected all of us together equally, I would say people are much less interconnected that they would like to be.  Boyd warns us that "we cannot expect technology to automatically integrate people and generate cultural harmony." As long as social issues regarding race still exist, the web can never truly be fully integrated.


Race, ethnicity and class play a major role in our society today, as well as in the past. It has especially affected technology through social networks. Some social networks like Facebook and MySpace have greatly influenced the types of people that belong to these social networks. I always wonder why I joined these social websites in the first place.

I know that I joined these sites because of the type of people that were on them. My friends and family were all using these networks to keep in touch with each other. MySpace was first introduced to me in 2004 I believe and I have seen the change in people it has since. It was mainly directed towards the younger generation of teenagers before, and as we grew older, we grew out of MySpace and went to the more mature network, Facebook.

“Real-life” is reflected and also changes in online social networks for many reasons. Because of the heavy usage form the general public, companies started doing their advertising on these networks. Schools, students, and even parents use these websites to connect to what the most recent updates are.

Now I know I didn’t not join these sites just because of class, race, or gender, but only because I did it to keep in touch with the updates in my social groups. This is how social networks can affect real life. It’s easy to start conversations on these social networks that actually mean something. Many people have made awareness groups and more to get things noticed because the web is viewed WORLDWIDE. Basically you have the freedom of speech for everyone to hear and respond to on these networks.

Some questions that came up to me in the readings were why do these types of networks exist? Who joins them? What types of people do their networks attract?

I guess the simple answers to these questions are that the social networks exist for the sole purpose of entertainment, spread of information and socialization among all types of people.

Many of these social networks attract mainly white people, or so it seems, but with my own encounter in the social websites, I generally stick with my own ethnic group. I notice that there is a lot of differences between my ethnic group, Mexican, and other ethnicities that are portrayed in the networks. I believe that a lot has to do wit influences within the culture. This can lead to social divisions and even negative conduct among social networks.

Although that race, class and ethnicity are independently functional, the dependence on one another is greatly impacted between them all. The social networks help these influences bring people together virtually rather than in “real-life”. I think that the certain standards among these ethnicities and races are greatly impacted by the networks and they happen to lessen the divide among people. This opens up doors to new diversity and opportunities in the web based life.

The power of the social networks is unquestionable because they help unite groups together that would not normally be able to socialize in real life. social networks are definitely transforming the ways in which we socialize, and have made face to face interaction less uncomfortable to a certain level.

I found an interesting link on facebook vs. myspace that might show how the demographics from one influence the other, or don’t.

Facebook is the MySpace for Old Folks, and Parents

     MySpace was the first social network site that I joined.  I heard of it through a friend that lived in California.  When I first became a member there were roughly 30,000 people on there.  I would like to consider myself ahead of the curve in that discovery!  At the time MySpace was great for networking (since I was in a band), and dating.  The site utilized the ideas of C.R.A.P pretty well, and it was easy to navigate, not to mention free! 
     Facebook came along, and I was not a fan.  It seemed most people that had Facebook profiles were students.  At the time I felt out of place, plus I was accustomed to MySpace.  I found Facebook, significantly harder to navigate, and most of the people in my circle didn’t have an account because they were not students.  Somewhere down the road and I can’t account for an exact date, I switched to Facebook. At the beginning of the school year, teens were asking "Are you on MySpace? Yes or No?" At the end of the school year, the question had transformed to "MySpace or Facebook?" Since I came back to college, most of the people were using Facebook.  Utilizing the data from The Not-So-Hidden Politics of Class Online, it does make sense.   
     I still have my MySpace account and check it periodically.  The majority of people in a random search are either African American, or Latino.  This could be the social division that Boyd mentions.  I am not sure if it is the reason I made the switch to Facebook.  In fact it is not the reason.  MySpace has technical issues that make it difficult to cyber stalk.  The website takes forever to load, and they made a bunch of changes to make it more confusing and difficult to navigate.  I’m not sure it has to do with demographics, or social upbringing, but more with Attention Deficit Disorder.

The Color of Society

Like Danah Boyd pointed out in her talk, people tend to stick with people like themselves. This holds true for the Internet. Most people tend to not go to websites or do activities on the Internet (such as games) that they aren't interested in, just like outside of the Internet. If you don't like to go bowling then you probably aren't going to go bowling very often. How does this relate to race or class and such? I'm not sure. I don't know how much race or ethnicity affects our choices of who we interact with on the Internet. Certainly people will be more likely to visit websites and socialize with people who speak their own language, so where you live definitely makes an impact. I suppose race and ethnicity will influence who you decide to socialize with, but I think that, on the Internet, it's an indirect influence and not a conscious choice for most people (especially since it's hard to know race and such without people telling you, unlike outside the Internet). From my own experience I could not tell you the race or ethnicity of most of the people I socialize with on the Internet outside of my non-Internet friends.

Social Networking and the Mobile Web

Social networking has become a huge part of our lives today. With a huge majority of people now constantly using Facebook and Twitter to communicate with each other and people use every way possible to to get on to these sites. One of these ways is the mobile web, with more and more people buying smart phones to replace their old boring phones. This has allowed more access for people to get to the internet. While not all people use their phones to do this, many do. Through research it has shown mobile web is used by those of lower income families than larger income because it is an easier for them to use their phones when they don't have internet in their house or another easy way to access it. I think that overall mobile web and social networking will help shape our future and direction it goes.

Why join MySpace or Facebook?

While reading through this week's article "The Not-So-Hidden politics of Class Online" made me stop and think. Why did I join MySpace? Why did I join Facebook? It was not because of Race, or economic status, or my social category. Not because I was more educated then others. It was simple, just my choice. MySpace always seem to be more for the teenager or the more artist person, then adults. I remember my son stating when I mentioned about joining MySpace that, "I was too old", it was for his age group. Once I did join I realized he was right. Honestly I did join, not that I'm proud of but to keep an eye on what he, my nieces, & nephews were up too.

As stated by Kaitlyn from Georgia in the article, "Facebook is for old people". I guess I'm one of those old folks. Basically my friends were there rich, poor, educated, non-educated, black, white, brown, giving us all a chance to reconnect.

Found this Study, based on data collected from a national survey"Got Facebook? Investigating What's Social about Social Media." This presents findings in regards to the social, cultural, and political activities that Facebook users engage. How they interact and the types of media and information they share. Which is quite interesting?

White Flight!?

In"The Not-So-Hidden Politics of Class Online", the author is fearful that the social groups and minorities not taking up facebook will be left in the dark due to their "social divisions"manifesting online. Hegemony at its finest.

Why is it that the facebook crowd is the norm, and the other networks are the social minorities? Sure, they may have an audience that is considered "minority" by our social standards, but only when compared to the NORMALNESS of white, suburban America. There's no call to embrace myspace or orkut, spread from facebook onwards, or ignore it all together. Only to assimilate these minorities into the most popular social tool of the day. "Make them come to us" seems to be the goal here, not understanding or embracing very real cultural divides, but ignoring them and their legitimate differences to sustain the traditional values, goals, etc. held by our society.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Social Networking: The Digital Tranformation

When I think of how race, ethnicity, and class play out online, especially in social networks like Facebook and MySpace, I think about how all of these various demographics interact with one another on such sites.

Having a Facebook page myself, I believe that social networking sites help bring people together in ways that probably wouldn't occur in real life. Since digital technology has and is evolving in ways like never before since Facebook and Myspace helps break down barriers between people and unite them.

One reason can be because of how people tend to be more open and communicative across the Internet rather than in real life. Going further, the ability to partner up and play games online helps bring people of different demographics together.

A recent example of this is the WordsWithFriends application, which allows multiple people to play a Scrabble-like game to build words and earn points. I realized that the game unites all kinds of people, like African Americans, Caucasians, Mexicans, and Arabic.

In a real-life setting, one would probably not find all these ethnicities playing this type of game, which speaks to the power of social networks and applications.

Here, real life isn't necessarily being reflected, but definitely transformed since people's comfort levels tend to be higher when face-to-face contact is not available, or not preferred.

Facebook or MySpace? Does it Really Matter?

As I was reading "The Not-So-Hidden Politics of Class Online" I was surprised by how fearful the author seemed to be. She says things like "white flight should send warning signals" and "we should be truly alarmed" by people switching from MySpace to Facebook. Truly alarmed? I really can't believe this woman is serious. She says that she is worried that these "social divisions" will cause underpriviledged and minority people to be unheard by their representatives because they're not on Facebook. That's quite a stretch. Most people that are on Facebook talk don't talk to their state representatives at all and if users of MySpace want to contact their representatives they can do that by joining Facebook, by email, through their webpage, a phone call, or maybe they could even write a letter.

Why does it matter if someone uses Facebook or MySpace? Maybe they choose one over the other because it fits their personality better. People spend time in places they like. Most people I know have a favorite restaurant or club. They may even go to these places with their friends. As Danah says, "(people) go where their friends go" and, based on my experience, people are usually friends with people they work with, go to school with, or live near. Quite often those people are similar to ourselves. I don't feel this is cause for "alarm".

Danah doesn't make much sense to me. Even though she says that it matters whether people use Facebook or MySpace I don't believe her. She doesn't make a strong case for why the division of people on these websites is bad and she doesn't say anything about people who don't use these sites at all. She speaks with too much fear and she comes across as a weak person. Ultimately she is just not believable.

* I had to do this blog post on only the Danah Boyd article because I couldn't access the other two.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Facebook VS. MySpace

I got a Myspace when I was a sophomore in high school. It was the "cool" thing to do. In April of my senior year, I got a Facebook. Facebook was suppose to only be for college students, but I figured since I was just about to graduate high school, that it would be OK if I got one. At first, I still always checked my Mypsace first, and was more into that than Facebook. Once I arrived at college, I started checking Myspace less and less, and Facebook more and more. ...................................................................................................................................................................... Personally, I began to like Facebook more because of the newsfeed. It made it easier for me to see what my friends were doing all at once instead of going to each individual profile. I also thought Facebook was faster because without all the music and backgrounds, the pages loaded more quickly. Myspace seemed to become more for the younger age groups, whereas Facebook started to seem more mature. The people that were interviewed in the article were mostly in their teens. It is weird seeing them say they prefer Facebook over Myspace. Maybe I don't have younger people requesting to be my friend on Facebook, but I didn't realize so many highschoolers had a Facebook. It has definately evolved because I hardly had any friends on Facebook when I first joined when I was a senior in high school, and these kids have hundreds of friends as freshman. I have a few cousins who are freshman in high school who are my friends, but they also live out of state. ....................................................................................................................................................................... I think that where you live affects whether you prefer Facebook or Myspace. My friend from California had a Myspace two years before I had even heard of it before. Depending on how common it is around you, then you will tend to use that social networking site. If all of your friends have Facebook, then you will probably be more active on that website than Myspace. ................................................................ I don't see how people can really judge and say certain races use Myspace more than others. One of the girls said that Myspace was more "ghetto", and I am not sure how she can make that assumption. I think that its a preference, and depending on where most of your friends are, that will be the social networking site that you choose. Myspace used to be the thing to have, but now it seems like it was a phase, and now people of all ages have a Facebook. I wonder if Facebook will slowly start to die and a new social networking site will take off. Only time will tell.....

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Facebook: Maintaining Separated Friendships?

The reading this week, a talk by Danah Boyd, brought out several good questions about the online social interactions in facebook and myspace. Unfortunately, the website hosting the other articles was down as of this writing.

The question to answer, refering to an article that I came across a while ago, is: "Is Facebook around primarily to help maintain relationships?"

In December 2010, a Facebook intern put together a stunning diagram of the interactions between people around the world using Facebook. This diagram is stunning, in that it shows, without a doubt, that Facebook is supporting connections between people from all over the world. Here is a link:

According to the reading, early adopters matter. Looking at the formation of Facebook, the Social Networking Service reached out to create connections between people at a college, then many colleges, and finally the world. The initial connections made by the college students that were early adopters to Facebook were geographically close, so how did Facebook get so many multi-national connections?

I would suggest that Facebook closes the structural, cultural, and distance based divides that have prevented multi-national friendships to date. The reading says: "when people are structurally divided, they do not share space with one another and they do not communicate with one another." In the case of Facebook, people can reach out across these bounds, in the comfort of their homes and computers.

Why is Facebook around? The legal definition, to make money. Plain and simple. The culture, on the other hand, would say that Facebook is used as a connection to find, and primarily maintain friend relationships through the many differences.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Division of Social Networks Just Like Culture?

I thought that this weeks readings were very interesting because it talked about the most popular social networking sites and compared them to different cultures. I have been a victim of using both sites and I have settled on just using Facebook over Myspace. However, social networks are divided where even if a myspace user and a facebook user wanted to communicate with other another, they couldn't because they are two completely different social networking sites. You might ask the question, "Well, why can people with different e-mail providers communicate with one another through e-mails? Danah Boyd from the article, "The Not-So-Hidden Politics of Class Online" talks about cultures and their backgrounds when talking about social networking. Boyd says, "People are already divided and we accept that people from different backgrounds inhabit different different environments." However, do we accept that people use different social networking sites from one another, such as Facebook and Myspace? Boyd talks about social networking and questions whether it is actually socializing of different networks. "Although most of you call these sites 'social networking sites,' there's almost no networking going on."

A lot of different questions were brought up in my head when I was reading the different articles. The one I thought of the most was social divisions and the public sphere. Is the Internet providing a next generation public sphere? Is the next generation public sphere bringing divisions with it? If some people don't use social networking sites such as Facebook or Myspace, does it make them different? I feel that if people don't use these sites or have recently joined and aren't familiar with them, then they are considered different or "foreign." I use the word foreign because like Boyd says, "If you aren't part of these networks, these technologies may feel very foreign." What divides people often differs such as social networking, but class seems to remain the same everywhere. I honestly feel that social divisions are based on what social networking site people use. I would include Twitter in this conversation, but I feel that Twitter is a site that people use WITH Facebook or Myspace.

When I was going through high school, I was a big fan of Myspace until about my Junior or Senior year. Then, I switched to Facebook because more of my classmates were using Facebook to interact with one another. In my opinion, I feel that once we mature, we switch from Myspace to Facebook. From personal experience, I noticed that a lot more college students are on Facebook and a lot more junior high and early high school students are on Myspace. Myspace was started for bands to create their own personal pages to promote their music. However, it expanded into a large variety social networking sites that consists of a lot of graphics, design, and other animations. Facebook, on the other hand, doesn't consist of a lot of different animations and this is why I believe that most older students and adults made the switch to Facebook. When we click on someone's page, we don't want to have to wait 2-3 minutes for it to open because of all the pictures that are trying to load. With Facebook, you know what you are going to get and this is why I believe that Facebook has become the most popular social networking website.

I posted a link on my Twitter earlier this week that showed a chart of the differences with Facebook, Myspace, and Twitter. I found it really interesting because it gives us a visual perspective on exactly how the sites are used and what percentage of people actually use that particular site for their main social networking experience. Here is the link to the chart:

Overall, I believe that social networking websites do divide different people just like how culture has divided us in the United States. Is someone cool for using a particular website? Does somebody have to have a Twitter along with their Facebook account? If someone doesn't use a social networking website, are they different from everybody else in the United States? Let me know your thoughts on these questions!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Final post: Ethnicity and Cultural Translations to the Web

In this unit, we're examining ways in which race, ethnicity, and class play out online, especially in social networks like Facebook and MySpace. In other words, we're looking at ways "real life" is reflected - or transformed - in online social networks, and how the web may not be such a democratizing force after all.

So, for this final blog post, I'm going to leave you to generate the question to answer. What question(s) do this week's readings raise in your mind? How would you answer those questions? Can you point to examples you've encountered online in your own social networks?

a post, pirated

New ideas are gone. Creators, artists, etc. owe their creations to the past (and present) and the other[s] who made up that past. [They are] building upon creation, not stealing from it. copyright laws shouldn't impede creative progress. The RIAA is concentrating in safeguarding profits, not helping creation to evolve. The[y] need to spend less time fighting the future and start thinking of creative ways to adapt to our new society. The RIAA can absolutely [not] stop piracy from occurring. ("we can't stop this technology, we can just criminalize it.")

There is little doubt that the recording industry has lost money. It's harder for a lot of artists to maximize their profits from CD sales. In 2002, the RIAA reported that CD sales had fallen by 8.9 percent, from 882 million to 803 million units; revenues fell 6.7 percent (could be explained by any number of circumstances that don't include piracy, "it has long been the recording industry's practice to blame technology for any drop in sales.") Piracy has affected the music industry by losing revenue.

But does this mean that recording artists who are having their songs pirated in such a way run the risk of "going out of business"? [Piracy] has also offered an option for less investment and cheaper marketing,if someone hears an artist for the first time on an online file sharing software and ends up loving them, then they will [achieve] sales through concerts and the niceties that can be purchased at the shows (t-shirts, refreshments, souvenirs, etc.) A recording artist's career is multi-faceted and album sales have now become only a part of a much more diverse career.

The internet [can] harm copyright owners, but it [does] enhance creative industries.