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!


  1. My mom doesn't have a Facebook, or any other social networking site, and she always says she feels so out of the loop because she doesn't. Our entire family has a Facebook and is sharing pictures and comments,and if you don't have one, you miss all of that. I wouldnt say that they are different than everybody in the United States, but I think they definately miss out on somethings because they dont have a social networking site that they can check on their own whenever they want.

  2. Yea my family is the same way. It kind of surprised me to see certain Aunts and Uncles with Facebook accounts. (Especially when they seem so non-technology typed) However, after the initial hump of getting the site figured out, they seem to manuever them quite well. I have to admit they do keep us all connected better and easier than before the use of the site.