danah boyd has posted a thoughts-in-progress study on class divides in the US youth use of social networks, looking at the different behaviours and cultural expectations of users of Facebook and MySpace.
Over the last six months, I’ve noticed an increasing number of press articles about how high school teens are leaving MySpace for Facebook. That’s only partially true. There is indeed a change taking place, but it’s not a shift so much as a fragmentation. Until recently, American teenagers were flocking to MySpace. The picture is now being blurred. Some teens are flocking to MySpace. And some teens are flocking to Facebook. Who goes where gets kinda sticky… probably because it seems to primarily have to do with socio-economic class.
A fascinating read, especially as it tries to delve into US class paradigms, which apparently are not spoken of, as opposed to the UK where we can have a ‘healthy’ debate about it, especially in comedy shows.
The BBC has also picked up this story, although they are identifying it as a formal study:
A six-month research project has revealed a sharp division along class lines among the American teenagers flocking to the social network sites.
and seem to be treating what is observational essay as a formal academic study, despite danah claiming the opposite: “Hopefully, one day, I can get the words together to actually write an academic article about this topic, but I felt as though this is too important of an issue to sit on while I find the words. So I wrote it knowing that it would piss many off.’