Viewing American class divisions through Facebook and MySpace

Danah Boyd has posted an essay on her “ethnographic research” related to Facebook and MySpace.

Her synopsis:

“What I lay out in this essay is rather disconcerting. Hegemonic American teens (i.e. middle/upper class, college bound teens from upwards mobile or well off families) are all on or switching to Facebook. Marginalized teens, teens from poorer or less educated backgrounds, subculturally-identified teens, and other non-hegemonic teens continue to be drawn to MySpace. A class division has emerged and it is playing out in the aesthetics, the kinds of advertising, and the policy decisions being made.

For students of social media and networking, this is required reading. It’s without a doubt the smartest thing I’ve read on the topic of how (and why) Facebook and MySpace are different. (Admittedly, most of the comments I read on that topic are from teenagers and include words like “sucks.”)