This week there were quite a few readings so I will more quickly summarize them than I normally do, but first here’s the trailer from “The Social Network,” a movie about Facebook’s start.
The first thing I read was “Viewing American Class Divisions through Facebook and MySpace” by Danah Boyd. In her article, Boyd notes how social media networks could possibly cause shifts to class divisions, especially among teenagers. She points out that Facebook is for those teens that come from educated families and emphasize going to college. The teens using MySpace on the other hand are those who are expected to enter the workforce or join the army after graduating high school or the “alternative” kids. Now this article was written in 2007 so I’m sure much of what she said has changed, but the idea of social networking influencing class is an interesting topic and why the article is worth reading. If you like this article, I also read Boyd’s post “MySpace and Facebook: How Racist Language Frames Social Media (and Why You Should Care).”
“How Black People Use Twitter” by Farhad Manjoo was an interesting read, as he notes that hashtags used by black people seem to be more prevalent on the networking site. From this, he also noted that black people tend to use Twitter differently than other races. For example, they follow each other more easily, join in conversations more, form tighter clusters and retweet one another more. In addition, there tend to be a higher population of black people on the social networking site. To learn why black people use Twitter differently, make sure to read the article.
The article “Twitter Offers News Orgs Opportunity to Reach Diverse, Underserved Communities” addresses the same idea of how minorities are using the service. The article talked about some of the interesting demographics related to minorities on Twitter and how news organizations could use this information to reach those demographics. Twitter is great for news and information and many groups on Twitter use the service for that type of information. For younger members of the service, many of them are using Twitter as a social tool for informal communication between peers.
The most interesting article I read was “Facebook, Private Traits and Attributes: Predictions from Digital Records of Human Behavior.” The article discussed the ever popular topic of online privacy in relation to social media. More and more people are using privacy settings online to reduce available information about themselves, yet those that use social media are less diligent about privacy and may have a false sense of control. The article discussed a study where they used Likes on Facebook to determine certain demographics about the person. Here are a few findings:
- 88% of the time for men and 75% of the time for women, researchers were able to predict a user’s sexual orientation
- 95% of the time, researchers were able to predict a user’s ethnic origin
- 93% of the time, researchers were able to predict a user’s gender
Lastly, I read two academic article. The first was “From Dabblers to Omnivores: A Typology of Social Network Site Usage.” The second was related to uses and gratifications theory. “Attachment Needs and Social Networking Sites” compared real life friendships to those formed through a social networking site. Heavy use of a social network leads to the need to satisfy a sense of belonging. The researchers found that the tested subjects used social networking as a way to fill the need of belonging and that social media allows a alternative way for the subjects to meet an attachment need.