A little while ago, danah boyd wrote a thought-provoking article on a change in Social Network use in US adolescents, which she sees not so much as a “shift” than a “fragmentation”. The former mass use of MySpace in high schools has gradually changed in the past 6 months, along a class divide. Boyd reports on the use of social networks by “good” and “bad” kids (the teens’ own terms) but prefers to refer to them as “hegemonic teens” and “subaltern teens”. The former, aspiring to college and belonging to a comfortable socio-economic class join the college-oriented Faceboook, see as “safer” than MySpace, where non-conformist as well as working-class kids are staying. Aesthetics reflect on this duality: clean and modern look for Facebook pages, “bling” for Myspace. On an interesting aside, she notes that the
Yesterday, Bernie Goldbach posted podcast reflecting on the appeal of Facebook for an older demographic, typically professionals (Robert Scobble, it seems, has thousands of friends on Facebook). There follows a very interesting discussion on the possible uses of Facebook as a teaching tool in college, as it seems his students are now joining Facebook, more for professional reasons it seems, but brings me to wonder if we are going to see a fragmentation of social network use in Ireland following the US model, and if college students are going to leave Bebo for a more “grown-up”, sophisticated version of the social network.